US retailer Walmart has come under fire for selling an Israeli soldier Halloween costume for children. The $27.44 (£17.87) soldier costume, which includes "a shirt, belt, hat and pants", has sparked outrage on social media as it comes amid a new wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians dubbed the "Knife Intifada".
On 23 October, at least 45 Palestinians were shot and wounded in a "Day of Rage" across Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Three photographers and a 13-year-old child were among those hit by rubber-coated steel bullets. Some eye-witnesses said live ammunition was also used by Israeli soldiers.
'Utterly insensitive and immoral' outfit
Referring to the costume on its website, Walmart said: "When Halloween time rolls around, make this item part of your child's complete ensemble."
A number of customers have reacted on the retailer's website, by posting commentaries in the review section of the product.
One such review read: "Your little one can now go to his friend's house, and take over their bedroom, and all of their toys and claim that God has given him/her the right to take it. If the friend refuses, your little IDF soldier can respond with force, and if they fight back, claim anti-semitism, the right to defend their new room full of God given toys and level the whole family and neighbourhood block!"
Another user, shareef777, also commented on the "utterly insensitive and immoral" outfit, saying: "Might as well sell a Hitler outfit for children as well! Pitiful!"
Social media users also took turns to express concern and disgust at the costume.
Another of the retailer's Halloween special, an "Arab Sheik Fagin nose" – a fake hook nose seen used in a costume depicting Arabs – has also sparked controversy.
The incident comes as at least 50 Palestinians – of which around half are reported to be "aggressors" – and 9 Israelis have died in a wave of violence across the region since the start of October (2015).
It is not the first time the US giant has been criticised for selling "insensitive" items.
In June this year, the company was forced to apologize after it baked an Islamic State-themed cake for a customer.
Walmart apologised for the cake, stating that "an associate in a local store did not know what the design meant and made a mistake. The cake should not have been made and we apologise."
In 2014, the company also had to apologise after horrified customers discovered a poster was sold on the superstore's website featuring an image of one of the Holocaust's most notorious concentration camps, Dachau.
The description of the product read: "Gate with inscription Arbeit Macht Frei, Dachau Concentration Camp, Dachau" adding that the poster "would make a great addition to your home or office".
The posters were subsequently removed from the website.