Two Israeli soldiers were caught on camera overnight Wednesday-Thursday setting a Palestinian storehouse in the West Bank city of Nablus on fire.
Security footage obtained by Channel 2 showed the troops approach a stockpile of planks belonging to a Palestinian lumber salesman, adjacent to the storehouse, while holding a burning object. The pair proceed to set the boards alight. The two soldiers, wearing helmets and vests, leave the area as the fire spreads to the building.
According to Channel 2, the overall damage was estimated at NIS 150,000 ($39,000).
The Israel Defense Forces said it was investigating the incident.
“Immediately upon receiving the video, the Central Command ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, which appears to be an unusual event,” the army said in a statement. “When the investigation is over, the conclusions will be presented to the Central Command officer and if necessary, the required steps will be taken.”
The Palestinian owner told Channel 2 he was “surprised that soldiers would act this way.
“They are supposed to represent the state and the army. I don’t understand what I did wrong that made them act like this, there were no clashes,” added the owner, who was not named. “I am very angry. We expect to receive damages and an apology from the army.”
According to the Haaretz newspaper, the soldiers were part of a patrol guarding Jewish worshipers at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
The video footage emerged less than 24 hours after the military said Wednesday it was investigating soldiers’ behavior during a Hebron arrest, after photos emerged of troops beating an unarmed Palestinian. Pictures in the media showed troops kicking the man and hitting him on the head, then manhandling him to the ground before detaining him. The army said an initial probe showed the man had refused an inspection by soldiers, who have increased their presence in the city following a recent uptick in attacks.