Britain's defense ministry said Wednesday it had launched an investigation into a video circulating on social media showing soldiers using a picture of leftist opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn for target practice.
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The video, posted on Snapchat, shows four paratroopers firing shots in a shooting range in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. It shows four soldiers identifiable as members of the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment using simulation weapons which are used for target practice.
The video on the social media app had a caption that read, "happy with that.” The time of filming the video is not yet known.
"We are aware of a video circulating on social media," an Army spokesperson said. "This behavior is totally unacceptable and falls well below the high standards the Army expects. A full investigation has been launched."
“There are a number of different posters used as targets on that range, but the use of this poster obviously shows poor judgment,” a Ministry of Defense source said.
A Labour spokesman called the behavior alarming and unacceptable but said the party was confident the army would investigate and act on the incident.
The soldiers have been widely criticized by lawmakers. "Shameful and utterly unacceptable. This goes against the values and standards of [the British army]," ex-soldier and Labour lawmaker Dan Jarvis tweeted.
Theresa May’s official spokesman said, “This is clearly unacceptable. The MoD are now conducting a full investigation.”
Tobias Ellwood, a junior defense minister said, "If authentic this is unacceptable. Am looking into it."
Robin Walker, the Brexit minister condemning the actions, said, “We might have strong views on one another in parliament, but clearly that kind of violence is unacceptable in any context about a democratically elected representative. And if that is true, I would certainly condemn it.”
Trevor Cult, a former British soldier, one amongst those who shared the video on Twitter, later claimed it to be fake. He initially posted the video with a message, “Not looking good for a Labour leader.” After being criticized, he said that the video was photoshopped.
Corbyn is not a popular personality in defense circles due to his criticism of U.K.’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan invasions as well as British army activities in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, a period which saw more than 3,500 people massacred in sectarian violence.