Israeli soldier jailed for 18 months for killing Palestinian attacker

An Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian attacker in a high-profile case that split opinion across the country has been jailed for 18 months.

Sgt Elor Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter for shooting dead 21-year-old Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, last March.

Azaria had told a colleague that Sharif, who had stabbed another soldier, “deserved to die”.

Military chiefs condemned his actions, but others praised them.

The offence carries a sentence of up to 20 years, though prosecutors had called for Azaria to be jailed for between three and five years.

Dozens of right-wing protesters had gathered outside the Tel Aviv Defence Ministry headquarters, where the hearing took place.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would support any decision to pardon Azaria.

The killing received widespread coverage after footage of the incident, filmed on a mobile phone, was shown on Israeli news programmes.

A scene from the video showing Sgt Azaria raising his rifle at the wounded Palestinian
A scene from the video showing Sgt Azaria raising his rifle at the wounded Abdul Fatah al-Sharif  (Image copyright AFP )


It showed Azaria cocking his gun and firing at the head of Sharif, who was lying apparently incapacitated on the ground after being shot and wounded following the stabbing attack.

The military court which tried Azaria dismissed his claim that he had acted out of fear that Sharif might have been wearing an explosive vest.

The killing occurred amid a wave of attacks by Palestinians that had killed 29 Israelis over the preceding five months.

Following the incident military chiefs and the prime minister came under fire from right-wing sections of society – including members of Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet – for criticising Azaria’s actions.

Mr Netanyahu later telephoned Azaria’s father to offer reassurance.







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