Hebron shooting: Footage shows 'settler kicking knife towards Palestinian man's body' after soldier killed him

The footage was shown in the trial of Elor Azaria, who shot Abdel Fattah al-Sharif dead following an attack

Lizzie Dearden
Friday 03 June 2016 15:37 BST
Video appears to show knife being kicked towards Palestinian man just shot by an Israeli soldier

An ambulance driver moved a knife closer to a disarmed Palestinian man’s body after he was shot dead by an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldier, a court has heard.

Investigators presented footage appearing to show the weapon being kicked towards the Abdel Fattah al-Sharif moments after he was shot in the head by Sergeant Elor Azaria at his trial in Jaffa.

The knife can be seen several metres away from the corpse, far out of reach, as blood runs down the road following the killing on 24 March.

Israeli soldiers attend the body of Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, who was shot and killed by a soldier while laying wounded on the ground in Hebron (AP)

After the weapon, thought to have been used in an attack on an Israeli soldier, is run over by an ambulance the man holding the camera appears to kick it towards Mr al-Sharif.

A military police investigator told the court the man responsible was Ofer Ohana, a leader in Hebron’s settler community, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Also a Magen David Adom ambulance driver, separate footage before the shooting appears to record him shouting “the dog is moving”, referring to Mr Sharif.

Another video shows him standing next to far-right activist Baruch Marzel and shaking hands with Azaria as soldiers remove the body.

Breaking the Silence, a group of former IDF soldiers who oppose the occupation of the Palestinian territories, said Mr Ohana was “infamous” in Hebron and published footage showing him facing off with activists and calling an extremist who killed 29 Palestinians in the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre a “saint”.

Military prosecutors took a statement from Mr Ohana and confiscated his phone after filing a warrant request in court, Haaretz reported.

Azaria denies manslaughter at Jaffa Military Court, saying he killed Mr al-Sharif because he believed he could be wearing an explosive vest.

The 21-year-old and his friend Ramzi al-Kasrawi had attacked an IDF soldier, who was not seriously injured, during a wave of stabbings in the West Bank and Israel.

They were both shot by soldiers, with al-Kasrawi dying instantly, but Mr al-Sharif survived the initial bullet and lay incapacitated in the road.

IDF forces, medics and settlers bustled around him seemingly unconcerned until Azaria suddenly shouted “stand back” and shot him in the head at close range.

Imad Abu Shamsiyya, who took the original footage after hearing gunshots at home nearby, said he believed Mr al-Sharif was not a risk.

“There was no danger and Abdel was on the ground… nobody reacted,” he told The Independent. “Nobody did anything because they were Palestinians.”

A protest in support of the soldier who was filmed shooting a Palestinian man dead in front of the Israeli Army Justice court in Kiryat Malakhi on March 29, 2016 (AFP/Getty Images)

The shooting has generated international condemnation as well as fierce debate in Israel, seeing numerous protests in support of the soldier and human rights groups rally against Palestinian deaths.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, urged soldiers to “behave with composure”, while his defence minister Moshe Ya’alon said a “loss of control” must not be allowed.

Amnesty International was one of countless human rights organisations to demand action, calling any shooting of an incapacitated person a “potential war crime”, regardless of their previous actions.

The incident came amid a wave of violence in Israel and the West Bank that started in October last year, which has seen Palestinians kill 28 Israelis and two Americans and around 200 Palestinians killed by security forces.

The IDF has said the majority of those shot dead were carrying out or attempting attacks but opponents have called the killings, including those of children and teenagers, disproportionate.

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