Off-duty soldier arrested on suspicion of killing Palestinian man

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

An off-duty IDF soldier is arrested by military police on suspicion of fatally shooting a Palestinian man who was harvesting olives on Saturday.

The soldier, who serves in the religious Netzah Yehuda Brigade on the border with Lebanon but was on leave for the weekend, acknowledges being present during a confrontation between settlers and Palestinians outside the Rehelim settlement.

During the incident, Bilal Muhammed Saleh, 40, was shot in the chest and killed as he was harvesting olives near the West Bank village of As-Sawiya.

According to the Honenu organization, which provides legal aid to people suspected of anti-Palestinian activity, the soldier claims that he fired warning shots in the air and toward the ground when he was threatened by “an Arab mob” while out walking with his family.

The soldier was first questioned Saturday night, and then questioned again and arrested on Sunday. He denies having killed Saleh.

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