IDF soldier who shot immobilized terrorist won’t face murder charge

The IDF logo. Credit: IDF.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to An Israel Defense Forces soldier who recently shot a neutralized terrorist in the head in Hebron, sparking controversy over his actions, will likely be charged with manslaughter and not murder, IDF prosecutor Lt. Col. Edoram Rigler said Thursday at a military court in Qastina.

Military court judge Lt. Col. Ronen Shor decided Thursday to release the soldier to open custody on a military base. While in custody, he will be forbidden from carrying a weapon and from making direct or indirect contact with relevant witnesses in the case.

At a hearing on Friday, the prosecution asked to have the soldier’s remand extended until next Thursday to facilitate the advancement of the investigation, noting the importance of not interfering with upcoming forensic testing and the autopsy of the terrorist. The autopsy, scheduled for Sunday, will determine whether the shot fired by the soldier in custody in fact killed him.

Military prosecutor Col. Sharon Zagagi-Pinhas said, “There are two main foundations that we believe form the basis for a clear evidential picture: the videos, of which we will present one main video to the court; and the comments made by the soldier immediately after the incident, specifically, ‘the terrorist has to die,’ which demonstrate the spirit and motivation underlying the act.”

The soldier’s lawyer, Eyal Beserglick, said in his client’s defense, “We need to put ourselves in the soldier’s shoes in real-time, not in a video. The scene is explosive, there are people screaming that the terrorist is still alive and has a bomb. The terrorist is wearing a coat that looks like a flak jacket on a very hot day. The Magen David Adom emergency services staff on site is not authorized to approach the terrorist because of concerns over an explosive device. The soldiers are also keeping their distance, and before the gunfire, you cannot get closer to the terrorist. When we asked [on Thursday] if transporting the terrorist from the area could have meant transporting a bomb, they said they still did not know. Additionally, there were concerns about a mixed [stabbing and bombing] attack.”

Posted on April 1, 2016 .