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Two Israeli soldiers jailed for killing camel

By Shawn Price   |   Jan. 28, 2016 at 6:28 AM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A pair of elite Israeli soldiers were sentenced to prison Tuesday after a video of one of them shooting and killing a camel on the West Bank went viral.

A military court sentenced the two soldiers, who were not named due to an Israeli court gag order, after being arrested in December for animal cruelty.

The soldier who shot the camel was sentenced to four months in prison along with a suspended sentence and demoted to the rank of private. The soldier who filmed the incident was sentenced to two months and demoted to private. Both soldiers are from the elite Duvdevan unit known for its undercover operations.

"The sentence reflects the severity with which the [Israel Defense Forces] sees the offense of cruelty to animals," the Israeli military said in a statement. "Especially when it involves using a military-issued weapons."

In the video, taken while the two were on leave in late November, a soldier is shown sticking his pistol out the window of the car he is driving and shooting at the camel as he goes by. One of the soldiers then bursts into laughter as they drive on. The camel was later found dead by the side of the road.

The video was posted then taken down, but not before it had gone viral.

Both soldiers were scheduled to begin officer's training in December.

Israeli animal rights group Let the Animals Live declared the shooting "shameful" and asked for longer prison sentences.

"Where did their compassion go, the mercy toward defenseless creatures?" chairman Etti Altman said in December.

Israeli troops have been seen being cruel to animals before. In 2012, a soldier was sent to prison for throwing scalding water on a stray cat and in 2013, a soldier was filmed cooking a bird alive in boiling water.

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