Israeli soldier who shot Palestinian assailant could see charges downgraded from murder
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Israeli soldier who shot Palestinian assailant could see charges downgraded from murder

Israeli soldiers removing the body of a Palestinian man who stabbed a soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 24, 2016. (Wissam Hashlamon/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers removing the body of a Palestinian man who stabbed a soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 24, 2016. (Wissam Hashlamon/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A soldier caught on video shooting a prone Palestinian terrorist in the head could be charged with manslaughter rather than murder, the military prosecutor said at a hearing.

“We are trying to decide what he could be charged with, including manslaughter,” the prosecutor said at Tuesday’s hearing in Kastina, near Ashdod, where it had been moved from the Jaffa military court.

Hundreds of the soldier’s supporters demonstrated outside the court.

The hearing was held in order for the military prosecutor to request that the soldier be held in detention for an additional nine days, until the office can complete its investigation and file an indictment. The judge approved the request at the end of the hearing.

The soldier, whose name is subject to a gag order, was held on murder charges on Friday for shooting a Palestinian wounded after stabbing an Israeli soldier in Hebron.

On Tuesday, the prosecutor said the soldier shot the Palestinian stabber in the head though he was down on the ground and no longer a threat.

The soldier arrived at the scene several minutes after the terror attack and acted independently, the Israel Defense Forces found in an initial investigation.

An autopsy of the Palestinian assailant to show whether or not the shot was fatal could make a difference in the charges or prevent both murder and manslaughter charges from being levied in favor of negligent homicide or violating the rules of engagement.

On Monday evening, the Magen David Adom emergency medical service released the findings of its own investigation into how it handled the incident, which found that treatment for the downed Palestinian assailant was delayed because he was not declared as safe to be approached.

“The risk of an explosive device or other dangerous element had not been removed, due to the fact that the terrorist was supine on the ground with a jacket (on a hot day) and that no security officer in the field had dispelled the concern,” the organization said in a statement.

This is in direct contradiction to the IDF’s claim that the assailant had been checked and cleared of being in possession of explosives.