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Trial opens for Israeli soldier who shot injured Palestinian

The 19-year-old Israeli soldier is charged with manslaughter and unbecoming conduct after shooting 21-year-old Palestinian in head
Israeli soldier Elor Azaria who was caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian (AFP)

The trial opened on Monday of an Israeli soldier charged with manslaughter for shooting a wounded alleged Palestinian assailant in the head as he lay in the street.

The head of the three-judge panel read out the indictment to Elor Azaria, who was clad in his uniform and surrounded by family in the cramped courtroom, an AFP journalist said.

The 19-year-old soldier also faces charges of conduct unbecoming before the military court in Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv.

Azaria, who also holds French citizenship, had shot dead the 21-year-old Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif on 24 March in Hebron, in the south of the occupied West Bank.

A widely circulated video showed al-Sharif lying on the ground along with another man after being shot and wounded minutes after stabbing and moderately wounding a soldier, according to the army.

WARNING: Video contains graphic footage.

Azaria, who was not at the scene during Sharif's attack, then appears in the footage and is seen shooting him in the head without any apparent provocation.

His lawyers argued that he thought al-Sharif had been wearing explosives.

The top brass of the Israeli military have condemned his actions, but rightwing politicians have argued that he has been unfairly treated.

Thousands of people attended a controversial rally in support of him last month. 

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