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Israeli soldier Elor Azaria says 'no regrets' about executing wounded Palestinian Open in fullscreen

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Israeli soldier Elor Azaria says 'no regrets' about executing wounded Palestinian

The combat medic was filmed shooting a wounded, incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the head. [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 August, 2018

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Elor Azaria told the Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom that if he could relive the 2016 incident, "I would act exactly the same, because that's how I needed to act."

A former Israeli soldier who fatally shot a wounded Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground says he "has no regrets" in his first interview since leaving prison three months ago.

Elor Azaria told the Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom on Wednesday that if he could relive the March 2016 incident in the West Bank city of Hebron, "I would act exactly the same, because that's how I needed to act."

Azaria served two-thirds of a 14-month reduced sentence after being convicted of manslaughter.

The combat medic was filmed shooting a wounded, incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the head at point blank range. Israel's military pushed for his prosecution, saying Azaria violated its ethics.

Azaria says in the interview that the military "abandoned" him, echoing sentiments of many Israelis, particularly on the nationalist right, who defended his actions.

The former Israeli soldier received a hero's welcome upon his release from jail in May.

Months later, he returned to the site of the killing in Hebron, where hard-line Jewish settlers chanted: "Elor Azaria, we wanted you to know, how much we love you in Hebron".

The 2016 killing of the injured Palestinian Abdul Fattah al-Sharif sparked international outrage, and Azaria's trial highlighted deep divisions in Israeli public opinion - between those who denounced the shooting and others who said it was justified.

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