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Israeli Soldier Convicted In Killing Of Wounded Knife Attacker

The case of Sgt. Elor Azaria has been closely watched in Israel and drew even deeper divisions — including among Israelis.
Israeli Soldier Convicted In Killing Of Wounded Knife Attacker

An Israeli soldier has been convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a man who was wounded after carrying out a knife attack.

The trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria for the killing of Palestinian Abdel Fattah al-Sharif was closely watched in Israel. 

Al-Sharif, along with another man, carried out a knife attack in Hebron in the West Bank last March. Israeli soldiers shot them, killing the other man and wounding al-Sharif.

B'Tselem, a human rights group, released video captured by a volunteer near the scene. Al-Sharif, who was 21, was lying on the ground wounded. A soldier, later identified as Azaria, can be seen in the video walking toward al-Sharif and shooting him. 

Azaria testified that he felt threatened and was concerned al-Sharif was wearing a suicide vest. But the judges didn't find his testimony "credible."

At the time of the incident, there had been increased violence between Israelis and Palestinians, including knife attacks.

While tensions were already high between Israelis and Palestinians, the case drew even deeper divisions — including among Israelis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he would support pardoning Azaria. Other prominent Israeli lawmakers have said the verdict should be respected. Azaria would need to submit a pardon request to President Reuven Rivlin or the Israeli Defense Forces. 

Azaria's defense team said they'd appeal the conviction. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 20 years in prison.

Al-Sharif's family wants nothing short of a life sentence.