Israeli soldier had 'no military need' to shoot & kill wounded Palestinian – IDF prosecutor

Israeli troops carry the body of a Palestinian who was shot dead after attacking an Israeli soldier. © Mussa Qawasma
A prosecutor for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says there was no military need for an Israeli soldier to shoot and kill a wounded Palestinian last week. The soldier is being held in custody as the investigation continues.

Prosecutor Lt. Col. Edoram Rigler made the comments during a hearing on Tuesday in Kastina, where the prosecution asked for nine additional days of pre-indictment detention for the soldier amid the ongoing investigation.

The prosecution could ask to detain the soldier longer once it files an indictment, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The soldier made international headlines after allegedly shooting and killing a wounded Palestinian on Thursday. The Palestinian, accused of stabbing another Israeli soldier, was immobilized on the ground and shot dead. A video of the incident quickly spread on social media.

Although the soldier maintains he “did the right thing at the right time,” the prosecution deemed the shooting a “grave offense” on Tuesday.

The soldier has claimed he feared for his life and the lives of his fellow soldiers, citing concerns that the wounded man could have tried to blow himself up.

However, reports have surfaced which state that the soldier was not an early responder to the scene, and that the Palestinian had already been checked for the possibility of having explosives by the time he arrived.

The prosecutor said investigations raise doubt about the soldier's account of events and his claim that soldiers' lives were in danger.

On Sunday, Army Radio reported that the shooter had told a friend the “terrorist needs to die” for stabbing a soldier, implying the shooting was not an act of self-defense.

The soldier's defense lawyer, Ilan Katz, has argued that an autopsy of the Palestinian man could prove vital for his client, noting that the soldier could be saved from murder and manslaughter charges if the man was already fatally injured from his earlier wounds.

If this is proven to be the case, the soldier could face lesser charges of negligent homicide or violating the rules of engagement.

The case was initially to be heard in the Jaffa Military Court, but was moved to Kastina in an effort to reduce media coverage and the number of protesters.