IDF soldier who shot a terrorist last month, in court Tuesday – Photo credit: Gideon Markowicz

Israel Hayom By: Shlomi Diaz and Nitzi Yakov

 

Soldier who shot terrorist after stabbing attack in Hebron may have felt threatened by attacker, appellate judge says • Court denies prosecution’s request to imprison suspect • Ya’alon responds to criticism: Let army chief decide on rules of engagement.

The Israel Defense Forces soldier who shot a subdued Palestinian terrorist in Hebron last month may have been truly threatened, the Rabin Base Appellate Court said on Tuesday, denying prosecutors’ request to re-imprison him.

Brig. Gen. Doron Piles, the presiding military judge, said the soldier’s claim that he shot the terrorist because he worried he might have a suicide vest was a reasonable explanation and therefore the lower court’s decision from last week, placing him under supervised detention ahead of his trial, would stand.

Chief Military Prosecutor Col. Sharon Zagagi-Pinhas showed the court several video clips of the incident both before and after the shooting. “The soldier said he was shaken [by the attack perpetrated by the two terrorists in the scene], but in one of the clips, he does not look shaken or overwhelmed, and he even shakes hands with [far-right activist] Baruch Marzel,” she said. She added that the claim that he feared the terrorists had explosives on him was inconsistent with his earlier claims. “His version of events is convoluted and his claim is insincere; he has retroactively claimed there was a possible explosive device because he wanted to minimize the severity of his actions. If he really feared an explosive device was there, he would have told everyone right after the shooting that he acted based on that rationale. In fact, the company commander asked him, ‘Why did you do this?’ but the soldier did not respond and another soldier testified that about 30 seconds earlier the soldier had wondered out loud, ‘What, the terrorist is still alive?’ Later, after the shooting, the suspect told the soldiers, ‘Someone stabbed my friend, and tried to kill him, so he deserves to die as well.’ A paramedic who was at the scene later testified that the suspect said, ‘Everyone had already shot him, he was still moving his head and hand toward the knife, and therefore I shot him.’ But the truth is that the knife was far from him.”

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