JERUSALEM — The Israeli army has opened a probe into an incident in the West Bank during which an officer struck a demonstrator in the face with his gun, a military spokeswoman said on Sunday.

"This is a very serious incident. A detailed investigation has been opened into the circumstances leading up to this incident as well as on its repercussions," she told AFP.

Israel's Channel 10 television earlier ran footage of Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner striking the demonstrator in the face with his automatic weapon near a checkpoint in Al-Awja, north of the city of Jericho.

The demonstrator, a foreigner whose nationality was not given, was taking part in a bicycle rally with dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists in the Jordan Valley.

Channel 10, quoting a military source, said the officer apparently lost his patience as he and his troops tried to turn back cyclists shouting anti-Israeli slogans and waving Palestinian flags from a closed "military zone."

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