A combat soldier from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion (also known as the Nahal Haredi) may be prosecuted for shooting a suspicious Arab who charged an army position on Friday.
The soldier, who shot and killed a 38-year old resident of Silwad as he ran towards an IDF pillbox near the Samarian town of Ofra, was warned by investigators on Sunday that he may face an indictment for manslaughter.
During questioning, the soldier said he feared for his safety and the safety of his comrades when he saw the man suddenly begin to sprint towards their position. The man reportedly did not heed calls by the soldiers to halt as he approached the pillbox.
The soldier claims that he opened fire in accordance with army regulations, and that the circumstances justified his actions.
An Arab paramedic who treated the man claims he appeared to have been shot in the back, fuelling accusations within the Palestinian Authority that the shooting was not justified.
“The soldier carried out his duty and acted in accordance with army regulations given the suspicious behavior of the Palestinian and the apparent danger,” said Captain Lior Ayesh, who is representing the soldier during the investigation.
“This experienced and valued soldier will be returned to his important duties in his unit by the end of the day.”
The warning by investigators that the soldier involved may face prosecution has drawn comparisons with the case of Elor Azariya, a soldier who on March 24th shot and killed a wounded terrorist shortly after a terror attack in Hevron.
Azariya claimed that the terrorist in question was moving suspiciously even after having been wounded, and that he feared the terrorist may have been attempting to activate an explosive device hidden underneath the unseasonably warm jacket he was wearing.
In the wake of the incident Azariya was charged with murder, which was later reduced to manslaughter. The shooting and subsequent investigation prompted a raucous political debate and sparked widespread opposition to the indictment.