Netanyahu: 'Soldier's actions in Hebron do not represent values of Israeli army'
HAZEM BADER (AFP)
The actions of an Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian attacker in the head on Thursday after he was already subdued "do not represent the values of the Israeli Defense Forces," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
"The IDF expects its soldiers to act calmly and according to the reules of engagement," the Prime Minister added.
The soldier was suspended, and later arrested after a video emerged showing him shooting an attacker who had moderately wounded a soldier in Hebron, Israeli news site Ynet reported.
Israel Defense Forces spokesman General Moti Almoz said in a statement that "the soldier who shot terrorist was arrested."
He continued to say that all soldiers present at the time of the shooting will be investigated, and not just the soldier who pulled the trigger.
"This is a very serious incident," he added.
In the video, the soldier is seen shooting the assailant in the head as he lay on the ground, apparently incapable of moving and possibly already dead.
After the soldier fires, blood is seen flowing from the man's head where it was not seen before.
"From an initial investigation, it appears that this was a serious incident that is contrary to the spirit of the IDF and what we expect of IDF soldiers and commanders," said the Israeli military, adding that military police were opening an investigation and that the soldier had been suspended until a probe was completed.
The soldier's lawyer defended his clients actions, saying that he reacted to movements made by the Palestinian.
“In the video you can see the attacker moving underneath his jacket, where he could have been hiding explosives or weapons,” the lawyer told Israel's Ynet news site.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon condemned the soldiers actions in a statement, saying that "we must not allow, even when our blood is boiling, ourselves to lose control. This event will be treated with the utmost severity."
"Even when we have to beat our enemies, and defeat them in war or in any battle- with them, our moral obligations are strict," the statement continued.
"Stay human..Remember that our strength stems not only from our military capabilities but above all, the intensity of our morals. This is our duty, to win and to stay human."
Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh said the incident resulted from government ministers' exhortations to execute terror suspects.
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) went further, saying, "Prime Minister Netanyahu is personally responsible for this murder."
According to initial reports after the attack, Israeli troops of the Kfir brigade shot two attackers.
The wounded soldier was taken to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment and was reported to be in stable condition.
The Magen David Adom emergency service said the soldier sustained injuries to his shoulder and hands.
“We saw a young man in his 20s, who was fully conscious and walking around. He suffered stab wounds to the shoulder and arm,” MDA paramedic Zaki Yahav told the Times of Israel.
“We loaded him onto the intensive treatment ambulance and as we drove him to the hospital, we gave him medical treatment. He was fully conscious, speaking with us during the treatment and transfer,” Yahav said. “His is in moderate, stable condition.”
His identity was not immediately cleared for publication.
Israel overnight closed off the West Bank ahead of the start of the Jewish Purim holiday which began Wednesday night as a preventative measure said to remain in place through Saturday.
The unusual decision comes amid a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks since October and will keep out tens of thousands of Palestinian workers.
An army spokeswoman said the measure was taken on orders from the government following an "evaluation of the situation," without providing further details.
Exceptions will be made for humanitarian and medical cases, the spokeswoman said.
Purim sees street parades and an increase in the number of Jewish faithful visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.
Israel has regularly closed off the West Bank during Jewish holidays such as Passover and Yom Kippur, though less often for Purim.
Violence since October has killed 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.
198 Palestinians have also been killed, most of which, while carrying out attacks, according to Israeli authorities.
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