An IDF soldier was filmed shooting in the head a neutralized terrorist lying on the ground in Hebron on Thursday, after the latter attacked another soldier. The soldier was arrested.
Two terrorists armed with knives stabbed a soldier, moderately wounding him, at an IDF post near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron on Thursday morning. The two were shot and neutralized by soldiers from the IDF’s Kfir Brigade, and the wounded soldier’s condition was later downgraded to light.
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A video filmed several minutes later by B’Tselem volunteer Emad abu-Shamsiyah shows one of the terrorists, Abed al Fatah a-Sharif, lying on the ground motionless, when an IDF soldier aims his weapon at him and shoots him in the head.
According to B’Tselem, a-Sharif was alive and wounded when he was shot.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in response: “An initial investigation into the incident found this to be a very grave incident that contravenes the IDF’s values and what is expected of its soldiers and commanders. In light of the findings of the initial investigation done by the commanders at the scene, the investigation was passed on to the IDF’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID).”
The initial investigation found that the shooting occurred three minutes after IDF soldiers shot and neutralized the knife-wielding terrorists. Thereafter Israeli paramedics evacuated the wounded soldier to the hospital, while IDF officers took control of the scene and closed it off.
Despite this, an IDF soldier from the Kfir Brigade’s Shimshon Battalion decided, for a yet unclear reason, to shoot the terrorist who was lying on the ground apparently seriously wounded, which resulted in the terrorist’s death.
The Judea and Samaria Division also intends to examine why the terrorists were left wounded on the ground for several minutes without receiving any medical treatment, as IDF orders dictate.
The IDF added that Thursday morning’s incident is not characteristic of IDF troops’ conduct in hundreds of similar incidents in the West Bank over the past six months, and it is possible that disciplinary action will be taken against the shooting soldier’s commanders as well.
IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Moti Almoz announced Thursday that the soldier was arrested and questioned. He mentioned that all those involved in the event will be questioned, and that it was “a very severe incident. This is not the IDF culture or the Jewish peoples’ culture.”
Brig. Gen. Almoz added, “As far as the orders given to soldiers are concerned, the moment terrorists are neutralized, soldiers are supposed to immediately give medical assistance to the wounded, including the terrorists. This is the IDF, these are the values of the IDF, and this is not up for interpretation. We are unambiguous about this.”
“We will have to check why, several minutes later, after the incident ended well from an operational standpoint, with control in hand and no danger to the soldiers – the soldier decided to open fire. We’ve all seen the footage, we will give updates as the investigation goes on, the soldier is under arrest and, until we understand what went on there, he’s presumed to be innocent – even though the incident is severe.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the publications as well, saying, “The incident is highly severe, and completely contrary to the IDF’s values and its combat morals. We must not allow, even as our blood boils, such a loss of faculties and control. This incident will be dealt with in the strictest manner. Our struggle against Palestinian terror, and terror in general, is determined and decisive. We have no intention of compromising on the issue of our citizens’ and soldiers’ security, and we are handling the terrorists and their dispatchers with an iron fist.”
Ya’alon mentioned that “Even when we have to hit our enemies and beat them in war or battle, our moral duty is to (adhere to a strict moral standard). Preserve our humanity. Remember the limits of strength after the enemy has been struck as well, and avoid acting in immoral ways. Remember that our strength does not come from our military capabilities alone, but – first of all – from our moral power. This is our duty, to win and remain human beings.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) responded to the publications while on a trip to Romania, saying, “IDF soldiers and police officers shoot and execute wounded Palestinians in cold blood as a result of the tempestuousness of Israeli ministers and politicians. The politicians are no less responsible than the shooter. The incident in Hebron was documented, but there are many incidents which were not. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is personally responsible for this murder.”
This unusual incident comes after another embarrassing incident at the Kfir Brigade, considered a leading brigade in fighting terrorism in the West Bank, which occurred two and a half weeks ago.
Two soldiers from the brigade’s Nachshon Battalion were stabbed by a terrorist who surprised them while they were on guard duty in the Nablus area. The two soldiers, who were stationed at an isolated and sensitive post, had left their weapons on the ground, while they were playing backgammon and trash was scattered all around them.
Junior commanders in the battalion were removed from their position following the incident, while the battalion commander received a rebuke in his personal file.
Via Ynet News, by Elior Levy, Yoav Zitun, Elisha Ben Kimon