Published On: Fri, Mar 25th, 2016

Soldier who shot neutralized terrorist is suspected of murder

Prosecutors have requested to keep the soldier in custody while they conduct further investigations; the UN's special envoy to the region has condemned 'a gruesome, immoral and unjust act'.

IDF Soldier who shot neutralized terrorist is suspected of murder - Israel Palestine

The IDF soldier who shot dead a neutralized terrorist after a stabbing attack in Hebron is being investigated on suspicion of murder, it was revealed in a court hearing on Friday.

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The Palestinian attacker, Abed al Fatah a-Sharif, along with another attacker, stabbed an IDF soldier. Both were then gunned down by other soldiers.

A video filmed by a B’Tselem volunteer several minutes later shows the wounded a-Sharif lying on the ground motionless as an IDF soldier aims his weapon at him and shoots him in the head.

he IDF suspended and then arrested the soldier, and the military’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has alreadylaunched an investigation into the incident.

The soldier’s lawyer said his client saw a-Sharif moving and fearing he was going to detonate a bomb, leading him to shoot the neutralized attacker. A second video from the incident shows the terrorist moving before being shot.



A third video of the evacuation of the wounded soldier reveals dialogue between the rescue team members and the soldiers around them, with an authoritative figure saying, “He probably has an explosive on him, pay attention. Until the bomb squad comes, nobody touches him.”
During a remand extension hearing on Friday, the CID asked to keep the soldier under arrest, citing concerns that he might obstruct justice or would flee.
The prosecutor commented on the impending complexity of the circumstances, “There’s suspicion of a serious crime that will require us to conduct multiple investigations. There are different recordings of the event and different testimonies gathered.” According to the prosecutor, the soldier claims to have shot out of fear for his life.
During its investigation, the CID learned that before shooting the attacker, the soldier shouted “Be careful, move away!” to his fellow soldiers. This would support his claim that he feared the attacker was about to detonate a bomb.
What also supports the soldier’s claim is the attacker’s choice of warm clothing on a day the weather was in the high 20’s Celsius (77-84 degrees Fahrenheit). “The terrorist was wearing a coat or a sweater, and we’re well aware of the weather yesterday, ” a CID representative said.
Furthermore, the CID noted that one of the videos from the incident documents someone raising the concern that the terrorist might be carrying explosives.
The CID also noted that the first video of the incident, released by the B’Tselem NGO, was edited, and that it was able to get a fuller picture of the incident with the help of other videos and testimony from many who were present at the scene.
The soldier, the CID said, completely cooperated with interrogators. He told them he did not sleep on the night before the incident.

The soldier’s lawyer Ilan Katz argued, “The murder suspicion is farfetched and there is no direct or indirect evidence to establish this suspicion.”

Katz further asserted that the soldier conducted himself “according to the rules of engagement that he received.”

‘Apparent extrajudicial execution’

The United Nations’ special envoy to the Middle East condemned on Friday what he called “the apparent extrajudicial execution of a Palestinian assailant” by an IDF soldier in Hebron the day before.
“This was a gruesome, immoral and unjust act that can only fuel more violence and escalate an already volatile situation, ” Nickolay Mladenov said.

Mladenov welcomed Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s condemnation and called on Israeli authorities to “swiftly bring to justice the perpetrator who has already been detained.”

The incident was immediately denounced as an “execution” by human rights activists and as a “war crime” by the Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the incident.

Minister of Education Naftali Bennet posted a message on Facebook regarding the incident, saying, “Has anyone heard the soldier? The entire state leadership quickly piled onto the soldier. One Knesset member even said the soldier was ‘restrained.’ Were you there? Did you understand his thinking? The considerations? Perhaps there was a fear that he was rigged with explosives? That he’d explode onto the soldiers and civilians? Did you ask the soldier before condemning him? Were the terrorist rigged to explode, the soldier would have been seen as a national hero; could any of you, in his shoes, have known what the situation was really like?”


The videographer was surprised

Imad Abu Shamsia, the Palestinian B’Tselem volunteer who documented the incident, Told Ynet that “I never though that your Israeli soldiers would execute a Palestinian, let alone one who was wounded, lying on the ground, and not posing any danger.” Abu Shamsia was at his home in Hebron when that attack in which the two terrorists stabbed an IDF soldier occurred. “I live just ten meters from the place, I heard shots and immediately came outside with the camera. I saw a shot man lying on the ground, but he was moving and still alive, wallowing in his blood. I didn’t know at that stage whether he was an Israeli or a Palestinian.”

Abu Shamsia said that a few seconds later he saw that there was another man in civilian clothing, and a wounded IDF soldier, which led him to conclude that the two civilians were Palestinian.

“Afterwards, they sent me away from the place and told me I filming was forbidden, so I relocated to another spot, further away, and started filming again. Suddenly I heard one of the soldiers loading his weapon, and then I saw him fire a single bullet at the guy who was lying on the ground. It surprised me, since the Palestinian was alive. He tried to move. But it was just a slight movement. He was wounded and couldn’t get up. He wasn’t a danger to the settlers or the soldiers who were there.”

Abu Shamsia said that he was surprised by the fact that his video made such a stir in Israel and internationally, admitting that even he did not understand the full meaning of the unusual footage at first. He later received calls from all over the world, including the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abu Shamsia stated that he hopes “The Palestinian leadership will use this documentation in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a short statement on the matter, saying, “What happened in Hebron does not represent the values of the IDF. The IDF expects its soldiers to act cool-headedly and in accordance with the standing orders regarding opening fire.”


Via Ynet News/ Elisha Ben Kimon and AFP contributed to this report.

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