Israeli soldier charged with manslaughter for Palestinian killing

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The Israeli court has requested extra time to prepare charges against a soldier who killed a Palestinian man in Hebron

A screenshot from a B'Tselem video showing a Palestinian lying dead on the ground in Hebron (YouTube)
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Last update: 
Thursday 14 April 2016 14:54 UTC
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An Israeli court on Thursday confirmed that it would charge a soldier with manslaughter over the controversial killing of a Palestinian in the southern West Bank town of Hebron in March.

The court in Jaffa requested an extension to the soldier’s remand so that charges can be presented on Monday, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Indications that he would not be tried for murder first emerged late last month. 

The killing of Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, 2, in Hebron sparked outrage when footage was published by Israeli rights group B’Tselem showing an Israeli soldier shooting the Palestinian in the head when he was lying incapacitated on the ground.

Sharif was killed after being shot by the soldier, following an alleged attempted stabbing.

Israeli media has identified the soldier as French-Israeli Elor Azarya. 

Ynet reported that a small group of people protested outside the Jaffa court on Thursday in support of Azarya, chanting ““whoever kills terrorists is an Israeli hero”. 

An autopsy report published earlier in April revealed that Sharif was alive when he was shot in the head by the soldier.

The court had initially been expected to charge the soldier with murder.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially criticised the killing but later went back on his comments and praised the Israeli army in its fight against “bloodthirsty murderers”.

But the UN high commissioner for human rights has condemned the killing.

"We are concerned this killing may not be a lone incident," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said in a recent statement, adding that "all incidents where security forces have caused death or injury should be fully investigated, and those responsible brought to account."

Sharif is one of more than 200 Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since an uptick in violence began across Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories last October. Most of them have been alleged attackers but people have also died during protests. 

Almost 30 Israelis have also been killed in the violence, which has seen a wave of knife, car, and shooting attacks by Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel.