Israeli soldier jailed for killing Palestinian attacker

Jerusalem, Feb 21 (IANS) An Israeli military court on Tuesday sentenced a soldier to 18 months in jail for killing an injured Palestinian attacker in March 2015.

As part of the sentencing, Elor Azaria was also demoted from the military rank of Sergeant to Private, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The defence has vowed to appeal the ruling, and asked the court to delay the beginning of the sentence until an appeal is submitted. Azaria’s representation requested 15 days to submit the main claims of an appeal.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Forces prosecution said it wanted Azaria’s prison term to start by February 26.

Azaria’s shooting of the victim, Abdel Fatah al-Sharif, on March 24, 2015, around 10 minutes after the Palestinian was wounded while attacking an IDF checkpoint, was filmed.

The video went viral and led countries around the world and the International Criminal Court to follow the criminal proceedings, The Jerusalem Post said.

Ahead of Tuesday’s decision, the IDF prosecution had requested a three-to-five-year sentence based on past cases of manslaughter.

Dozens of right-wing protestors had gathered outside the Tel Aviv Defence Ministry headquarters, where the hearing took place, reports the BBC.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would support any decision to pardon Azaria.