The lawyer representing a police officer who shot dead a knife-wielding Israeli Arab attacker who interfered with an arrest operation in Kafr Kana has defended his client's actions, saying he felt his life was in danger.

"There is an attempt to stigmatize and gain political capital, but he believes that he acted appropriately because (the attacker) posed a risk to his life and those of his comrades," the officer's lawyer told Channel Two.

The lawyer added that following the subsequent arrest, rioters hurled rocks and bricks at police, forcing them to fire warning shots in the air before beating a hasty retreat from the village. 

Police conducted the raid in order to arrest a youth suspected of throwing a hand grenade.

In the course of the arrest police say 22-year-old Hir Alhamdan attacked them with a knife, forcing them first to fire warning shots and then - when he continued to attack - to fire directly at him.

CCTV footage released after the incident (seen above) shows a slightly different course of events. Although Alhamadan can be seen attacking the police car with a knife, no warning shot is apparent in the footage, and he appears to be shot as he backs away from police. But arresting officers insist they felt their lives were in danger.

The shooting sparked hours of riots, with villagers accusing police of shooting him dead "in cold blood."