Israeli soldier to be sentenced for killing Hebron attacker

Image copyright EPA Image caption The court dismissed Azaria's claim that he thought the victim still presented a threat

An Israeli soldier convicted of killing a wounded Palestinian attacker in a high-profile case that split opinion across the country is to be sentenced.

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.

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.

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

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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