Israel opens probe after video of soldier burning books in Gaza, possibly a Quran

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The Israeli army said Friday it had opened an investigation after images were posted on social media showing what appeared to be an Israeli soldier in Gaza burning books, possibly including a copy of the Quran.

“An investigation was opened by the military police criminal investigation division,” the army told AFP in response to questions about the images.

“The behavior of the soldier in the video is not consistent with (Israeli military) values,” it said, adding that the military “respects all religions and categorically condemns such behavior.”

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

The viral video, the authenticity of which AFP had not yet been able to verify on Friday evening, shows a soldier wearing fatigues similar to those used in the Israeli army and throwing a book that could be a copy of the Quran into a fire.

Both the video and a photo were broadcast on Israeli television.

A journalist from investigative website Bellingcat said the bookshelves that appeared in the photo matched those in a library in Gaza City’s al-Aqsa University.

Since the war in Gaza broke out, Israeli soldiers have on multiple occasions been accused of posting content on their social media accounts that degrades Palestinian civilians.

A video that went viral in November allegedly showed an Israeli soldier dedicating an explosion in Gaza to his daughter on her birthday.

Another video circulating in January purportedly showed a soldier dressing up in a dinosaur costume and loading a tank with shells.

In February, Israel’s top military lawyer opened criminal investigations into several incidents of alleged misconduct by
soldiers during the war.

The incidents “raised suspicion of detainee mistreatment, deaths of detainees, pillaging, and the illegal use of force,” the Military Advocate General’s Corps said in a statement at the time.

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The war in Gaza was sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed 35,800 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to data provided by the territory’s health ministry.

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