Indictments expected in Ni'lin shooting

Battalion commander Lt.-Col. Omri Burbag suspended for allegedly ordering his soldier to shoot a bound and blindfolded Palestinian.

tear gas niilin  224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
tear gas niilin 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Lt.-Col. Omri Burbag, the battalion commander who has been suspended for allegedly ordering his soldier to shoot a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian, will likely be indicted by the judge advocate-general, who is scheduled to rule on his case this week, military sources predicted over the weekend. Brig.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit will hold a hearing for the soldier at the beginning of the week, following which he will decide whether to press charges against the battalion commander and the soldier. Burbarg, commander of Armored Battalion 71, told Military Police investigators that he had told the soldier to shoot, but claimed that the order was "a joke." The soldier, in response, has said that "there is no such thing as a joke. He is my battalion commander and I carried out his orders." Another soldier present during the incident confirmed that Burbarg, who was suspended last week for 10 days, had given the order to fire. On Friday there were again violent demonstrations on the outskirts of the village near where Israel is building the West Bank security fence. The shooting took place on July 7 on the outskirts of the village of Ni'lin, near Ramallah, where Palestinian demonstrators have been holding daily demonstrations against the construction of the nearby security fence. In the incident, soldiers imposed a curfew and fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters. Burbag was caught on video leading the blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian to a military jeep, where the soldier was then seen raising his weapon and discharging a shot. The soldier claimed that Burbag had ordered him to fire, but the officer initially told investigators that all he had told the soldier to do was "shake his gun" to scare the detainee. Last week, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni added a disciplinary note into the file of Binyamin Regional Commander Col. Aviv Reshef for knowing about the incident but not reporting it to his superiors according to military procedures.