Israeli soldier posts Instagram photo of child caught in rifle crosshairs

Instagram photo of child in crosshairs stirs controversy in the Mideast.

An Israeli soldier posted a photo of a child caught in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle on Instagram, sparking outrage.

Although it is not clear whether the rifle in the Instagram picture belongs to Mor Ostrovski, the Israel Defense Forces soldier who posted it, the architecture in the image suggests that the place is somewhere in Palestine, according to ElectronicIntifada.net, an online news and opinion site about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Although Ostrovski removed the picture Saturday and closed his Instagram account following the controversy, ElectronicIntifada.net posted the image on its blog site, describing it as "disturbing."

Israeli solider Instagram photo: A screenshot from Mor Ostrovski's Facebook site. IMAGE

The site said there were no other images to suggest that the 20-year-old Israeli soldier, who belongs to a sniper unit, actually fired at the person in the image.

"The image is simply tasteless and dehumanizing. It embodies the idea that Palestinian children are targets," wrote Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada.

"It reminded me of a chilling account another Israeli soldier gave to the group Breaking the Silence about how Israeli soldiers in Nablus in 2006-2007 would deliberately fire at children, sometimes using live ammunition and sometimes rubber-coated steel bullets," Abunimah wrote.

YnetNews reported that IDF sources had said there was no proof that the soldier actually took the photographs himself and that it was possible that he found it online and decided to post it to his account.

An IDF spokesperson told YnetNews.com: "This is a severe incident which doesn't accord with the IDF's spirit and values. The issue was brought to the attention of the soldier's commanding officers, will be examined and properly handled."

Abunimah said that Ostrovski's Instagram account also included other images of himself and his weapons.

Although Ostrovski's Instagram account is no longer active, a few of his Facebook page photographs are still public.

Some of them show him with his weapons, smoking a cigarette and drinking Coke.

His account information shows that he attended the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa, Israel.

The Guardian reported that the Israeli military has recently been embroiled in a series of controversial postings on social media sites.

An Infantry Corps soldier was recently sentenced to 14 days in military prison for posting a picture of himself next to a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian on Facebook, the Guardian said.

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