'No regrets', says soldier jailed for killing terrorist

'I would do it again', says Elor Azariya, who was jailed for shooting wounded terrorist.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Elor Azariya in Hevron
Elor Azariya in Hevron
Tzipi Shlissel/TPS

The former IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter for the shooting death of an Arab terrorist just minutes after a terror attack says that he has no regrets for his actions.

Elor Azariya, then an IDF sergeant, was convicted of manslaughter by an army court in January 2017 after he shot and killed a wounded Arab terrorist in the city of Hevron in March 2016, just minutes after a fellow IDF soldier had been stabbed.

The terrorist killed by Azariya in the shooting incident had already been shot by security officials at the scene, and was considered neutralized.

The court rejected Azariya’s claims that the terrorist appeared to be reaching for what seemed to be a weapon concealed in his jacket, and that Azariya acted in self-defense.

In February 2017, an IDF court sentenced Azariya to 18 months in prison. That sentence was reduced to 14 months, however, after Azariya’s legal defense team appealed to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who slashed four months from the prison sentence.

Azariya began serving his sentence last August, and will have completed half of his 14-month prison sentence next week.

After serving nine months of his sentence, Azariya was granted an early release.

Speaking with Israel Hayom in an interview published Wednesday morning, Azariya said that he in no way regretted his actions.

“I have absolutely no regrets,” said Azariya. “I have no doubt that if I went back now to those moments during the incident in Hevron, I would do the exact same thing again, because that’s what needed to be done.”

During the interview, Azariya recalled the events during the incident which ultimately landed him in prison, saying that the terrorist’s unseasonably heavy coat appeared suspicious, and his movements at the time seemed to be aimed at reaching for a weapon either concealed in the coat, or towards a nearby knife on the ground.

“I saw that the terrorist had a puffy coat on… and people were shouting ‘Somebody do something’. There was a knife within arm’s reach of the terrorist. I was there at the scene, I saw how close the knife was.”

Azariya added that it appeared that the terrorist was concealing a weapon – possibly an explosive device – under his coat.

“Everything put together made me act on my instincts at the moment. Everything came together, and I acted just as we had been instructed to do from the beginning of combat training. I drew my gun, called to the platoon leader and company commander “move, move”, and I shot [the terrorist] in the head, and that’s when it was over.”

“I fired a single shot. The terrorist’s head was the one part of his body that was exposed, and I learned in a field medic course that once the head is injured, it affects the entire body.”