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.
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.
The IDF suspended and then arrested the soldier, and the military’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has already launched 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.
Katz further asserted that the soldier conducted himself "according to the rules of engagement that he received."
'Apparent extrajudicial execution'
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."
Elisha Ben Kimon and AFP contributed to this report.