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Israeli soldier convicted for Hebron shooting, released to house arrest

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was sentenced to 18 months in jail by a military court in Tel Aviv, on February 21, 2017
AFP
The release is due to a technicality as Elor Azaria comes to the end of his period of mandatory army service

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Elor Azaria, sentenced to 18 months in prison for the fatal shooting of a disarmed and wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron, is to be released from military prison to house arrest as his period of mandatory army service comes to an end and he awaits a decision from the military court of appeals.

Azaria was convicted of manslaughter in February after he was caught on film in March 2016 shooting Palestinian terrorist Abdel Fattah al-Sharif as he lay prone and immobilized on the ground after carrying out a stabbing attack against Israeli soldiers in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.

His conviction has deeply divided Israeli public opinion between those who believe he was wrongly tried and those who say the conviction was the right and proper consequence of his actions. It also led to strong statements across the Israeli political spectrum, with some politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for him to be pardoned, while others decried the fact that Azaria was prosecuted on a charge of manslaughter rather than murder.

JACK GUEZ (AFP)

Until now, Azaria has served his time in open detention on a military base in central Israel with periodic furloughs home and frequent visits from family members.

Azaria's defense lawyer reportedly wanted the soldier released to his parents' home but with a curfew at sunset so that he could go out during the day. However the court ordered him into full house arrest with the only exception allowing him to leave the house to attend Sabbath prayer services with his parents.

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