An Israeli soldier who shot and killed a wounded Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground was convicted of manslaughter Wednesday. Sgt. Elor Azaria shot Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, 21, in the head. Azaria had insisted he thought Sharif might have been wearing an explosive vest, but prosecutors said his motive was revenge, as a comrade of Azaria’s had been stabbed at the scene prior to the shooting. The West Bank killing was caught on video in March 2016 and has been deeply divisive, with heated protests on both sides. A military judge, Col. Maya Heller, rejected all of Azaria’s defenses in the case, eventually ruling that “the fact that the man on the ground was a terrorist does not justify a disproportionate response.” Some of Azaria’s relatives were thrown out of the Tel Aviv courtroom, and others stormed out after the verdict was read. One woman screamed “the Israeli military is over!” Another yelled “disgusting leftists!” The sentencing phase of the trial will likely begin in several weeks.
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