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Israeli Soldier Behind Hebron Shooting Told His Commander: 'The Terrorist Was Alive, He Needs to Die'

Wounded Hebron assailant would have lived if not shot in head by IDF soldier Elor Azaria, pathologist says.

The company commander of the soldier who shot dead a Palestinian assailant who was lying wounded on the ground in Hebron testified in court on Thursday regarding the chilling moments after the incident when he questioned the soldier about his behavior.

Sgt. Elor Azaria is on trial for manslaughter in military court for shooting Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron on March 24 after Al-Sharif had stabbed an Israeli soldier

After the shooting, Maj. Tom Neeman, the company commander saw "Elor with his hands on the weapon, walking westward," he testified. "I approached him and asked, 'Why did you do it?' He answered me, 'This terrorist was alive, and he needs to die.'" Neeman added: "I was angry at him for doing this. Essentially a shoting had been conducted at the scene that I was in charge of, without my permission."

The company commander added that no one had paid attention to the second terrorist, whom Azaria shot, or claimed that the terrorist was booby-trapped.

The military prosecutor, Lt. Col. (Res.) Nadav Weisman, asked him if he had made an evaluation regarding a bomb or explosive belt, and Neeman answered negatively. "The treat that we know from situational assessments and memorandums from the Shin Bet is mainly shooting and stabbing," replied Neeman. "An explosive belt is not something we discuss. It belongs to another era."

The company commander added that he did not notice anything suspicious about the terrorist's clothing, and that he even wore relatively tight clothing, and there were no signs of wires. The commander was asked if there were an operational justification for Azaria to carry out the shooting, which he also answered in the negative.

Neeman said he noted that the "terrorist dressed in black was moving his head. I see the knife. It was relatively far away, not within his grasp." He described how he stood near the terrorist during the shooting. The prosecutor asked him if he felt in danger, and the commander relied that he did not hear Azaria shooting.

Neeman described the beginning of the incident, and said that the platoon commander had reported before Azaria's shooting that "they shot six bullets at the terrorist, that he is not moving and that he is probably dead." He added, "The initial feeling was that a soldier had not carried out the shooting but one of the civilians in the vicinity."

The company commander said under cross examination that the week before the event, Elor was reprimanded during a roll call check by the battalion commander for items missing in the medics' it.  He said Elor's parents had contacted the commander and told him he was stressed to being doing the two jobs of medic and liaison for the company commander. The commander said he had told him that he didn’t want to do both and preferred to focus on being a medic.

Earlier during the trial on Thursday, a pathologist who examined his body testified that Al-Sharif would have survived had he not taken that bullet to the head.

“The other bruises and damage were not lethal, not immediately,” said the pathologist, Dr. Hadas Gips. “Had he received medical care immediately he would almost certainly have survived. Even without it – the deceased might have survived.”

Azaria has said he feared that al-Sharif may have been carrying an explosive device.

In April, a Palestinian pathologist also said that the gunshot wound to the head killed al-Sharif.

Last week, a forensics expert told the court that the video of the shooting had not been tampered with.

This week, a member of the B’Tselem rights group told Military Police investigators that another assailant in the incident was also shot in the head by Israeli soldiers. Azaria’s lawyers have asked the military advocate general to investigate.

Gili Cohen

Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.725392Schermata 2016 06 16 alle 16.22.53

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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