Hebron soldier set to be indicted this week
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Hebron soldier set to be indicted this week

Military prosecutors to pursue manslaughter charges against military serviceman accused of killing disarmed, incapacitated Palestinian assailant last month

An Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian assailant in Hebron sits in a military court hearing in Tel Aviv, April 5, 2016. (Flash90)
An Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian assailant in Hebron sits in a military court hearing in Tel Aviv, April 5, 2016. (Flash90)

The IDF soldier facing manslaughter charges after shooting dead a disarmed Palestinian attacker in Hebron last month will likely be indicted this week.

This indictment will likely be submitted to the Jaffa military court on Thursday, Ynet reported Sunday.

The soldier under investigation, whose name has been withheld by a gag order, was filmed shooting 21-year-old Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in the head on March 24, minutes after Sharif and another assailant stabbed and moderately wounded a soldier in Tel Rumeida, an Israeli enclave of Hebron. The two assailants were shot — one was killed, while Sharif was wounded — by an army officer during the course of their attack.

The soldier, who shot and killed Sharif some 10 minutes after he’d already been incapacitated and disarmed, was arrested by military police, but has been out of jail and held in supervised detention on an army base, amid a roiling political scandal over his actions and the military’s response.

Prosecutor Adoram Reigler told the court last week that the military had gathered enough evidence to move forward with the manslaughter charge against the soldier, the Ynet news website said.

Right-wing politicians and the soldier’s family have claimed he was being “lynched” by the media, and demonstrators have called for him to be released.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has been criticized for the decision to investigate the incident, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s support of the military leader and condemnation of the act brought him into the row as well.

“This is a case of a soldier gone bad, not a hero,” Ya’alon told the Knesset on March 28, as he slammed “all the fervor and false information and manipulation and attacks on the IDF chief.”

Ya’alon has subsequently reiterated his critique of those who back the soldier, declaring on Tuesday that the IDF top brass and not “gang leaders” would determine how the IDF operates.

An image of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon in the cross-hairs of a gun circulated on Whatsapp by Likud activists on April 2016. The caption reads: Politically assassinated!" (screen capture: Knesset Channel)
An image of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in the cross-hairs of a gun circulated on Whatsapp by Likud activists on April 2016. The caption reads: Politically assassinated!” (screen capture: Knesset Channel)

Ya’alon has come under an intense backlash for his comments and criticism against him took an extreme turn in recent days, when images of the defense minister in the cross-hairs began circulating on a WhatsApp group for Likud activists. The images, according to Haaretz, were accompanied by text declaring him “politically eliminated!” The text also reportedly said that since Ya’alon had criticized the soldier’s supporters, the Likud Central Committee would “assassinate” him in the party’s next internal elections.

The accused soldier’s father has come out against the “incitement campaign” against Ya’alon while urging him to ensure his son has a fair trial given his “rush to judge” the soldier.

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