Tamil Diplomat

Israel soldier Elor Azaria faces verdict over Hebron death

An Israeli military court is due to give its verdict in the case of a soldier charged with manslaughter for killing of a wounded Palestinian who had stabbed another soldier. Sgt Elor Azaria, now 20, shot Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, 21, in the head while he was apparently incapacitated in Hebron, in the West Bank, last March.

The case has divided opinion in Israel. Many argue he must be punished for violating the military code of conduct. Others say his actions were justified. The shooting happened during a wave of Palestinian stabbings last year.

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups said the case showed excessive force had been used to stop attacks, and accused Sgt Azaria of carrying out an extra-judicial killing. In their indictment, prosecutors said Sgt Azaria had “violated the rules of engagement without operational justification as the terrorist was lying on the ground wounded and represented no immediate threat”.

Sharif and another Palestinian, Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, had stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier in Hebron on 24 March before troops opened fire on them, wounding Sharif and killing Qasrawi. Footage of the incident shows Sharif alive. A soldier, identified as Sgt Azaria, is then seen cocking his rifle and fatally shooting him from several metres away.