IDF official: Terrorist was checked for explosives before shooting
Military officials say soldier could have taken other action before shooting neutralized stabber to death - like warn the other troops to back away - but did not; 'The IDF has nothing against him. This is an unusual and grave case that must be investigated,' they say.
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 on suspicion of murder, 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 feared 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, while 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." The CID is investigating whether the warning was made by an IDF soldier of commander, or by a civilian paramedic.
The soldier who later shot the terrorist to death, however, was not at the scene of the attack when that check was conducted, and was not aware of the fact the officer "cleared" the terrorist of carrying explosives.
The soldier arrived at the scene about two minutes after the attack as reinforcement, and then shot the terrorist who was lying on the ground - of his own accord.
"The procedure for a situation in which there's suspicion the terrorist has an explosive belt on is clear and known, and includes telling the other troops to back away and be careful, something the soldier did not do," an IDF official said on Saturday evening.
"If he suspected the terrorist was carrying explosives, he could've taken several actions before shooting the terrorist."
The officials responded to criticism from the soldier's family, who claimed the military had abandoned him. "He is an IDF soldier and the military has nothing against him. This is an unusual and grave case that must be investigated."
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot was briefed on the investigation's progress and praised the soldiers who stopped the attack and their professional conduct. He noted that the IDF was waging a determined and professional fight against terrorism and that the results of this fight can be felt on the ground. He added that the IDF will back soldiers and commanders who committed mistakes, but not when their behavior is not in line with the military's values.
Eisenkot's comments caused outrage, and posters were put up near the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv depicting him as Haman the evil and calling on his to resign.
Sources in the IDF condemned the posters, saying they are "inciting and dangerous."