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Israeli soldier who killed incapacitated Palestinian man begins jail sentence

Elor Azaria with his father before entering the prison [AFP]

Date of publication: 9 August, 2017

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The Israeli soldier who shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian man finally entered prison after delaying the start of his sentence for six months.

An Israeli soldier who killed a 21-year old Palestinian man lying incapacitated on the ground entered prison on Wednesday to begin his 18-month sentence.

Elor Azaria - who shot and killed Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif in March 2016 - was greeted by a crowd of cheering supporters before he walked through the prison gates.

Azaria's lawyer Yoram Sheftel said it was "a sad day for Israeli forces and the majority of Israel".

The military court of appeals on Tuesday denied a request to delay his sentence, handed down in February, adding that his sentence should have begun immediately.

"A soldier who has committed an offence - and certainly one who has committed such a serious offence as the one the defendant has been found guilty of - should serve their sentence immediately," the prosecution told the court.

The appeals court had ruled to uphold his conviction and prison sentence last week.

The chief of staff for the Israeli army Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot is currently deciding whether to reduce his sentence or not. Sheftel said Eisenkot had set a precedent by speaking out during court proceedings.

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