Netanyahu urges understanding for soldier filmed shooting attacker

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminded a divided public Sunday that a soldier, who faces charges after shooting a Palestinian knife attacker who no longer posed a threat, was working under difficult circumstances.

He spoke after family members slammed the media of having launched a "field trial" against the soldier.

"The soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), our children, maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting against bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions," Netanyahu told his cabinet.

"I am certain that in all cases, as in the current one, the inquiry takes into account all conditions," he said.

On Thursday, Netanyahu had said that the soldier's actions "do not represent IDF values."

"The IDF expects its soldiers to act calmly and according to the rules of engagement," he said, shortly after footage of the incident was published, sparking outcry in Israel and the Palestinian areas. 

On Friday, the soldier was brought handcuffed before a military court in south Tel Aviv on suspicion of murder.

The video, filmed by a Palestinian volunteer for the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, shows the soldier suddenly fire his rifle at an injured knife attacker lying on the road.

After the shot is heard, the Palestinian's head jolts and he has what seems to be a fresh head wound, with blood slowly streaming down the sloped road where he lies.

The Palestinian, along with a partner, had stabbed and injured another soldier guarding a checkpoint.

Right-wing nationalist members of Netanyahu's government have rallied behind the soldier and some 35,000 Israelis have signed a petition, saying the soldier should be given a "medal rather than handcuffs."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, wrote on his Facebook page Sunday: "The soldier is not a murderer. Have we lost our minds?"  

"The minimum we can do is to wait for a thorough and fair investigation before we seal someone’s fate." 

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Thursday called the shooting an "utter breach of IDF values and of our code of ethics in combat."

The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of a "war crime."

Last update: Sun, 27/03/2016 - 18:19

More from World

Houthi leader: Rebels did not launch missile targeting Mecca

A Houthi leader on Friday denied Saudi allegations that Shiite Houthi rebels launched a ballistic missile from a...

Syria vows to take control of Aleppo at Moscow talks with allies

The Syrian military will take full control of the war-torn city of Aleppo, Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said...

India says three dead after Pakistani forces open fire in Kashmir

An Indian soldier and two civilians were killed when Pakistani border forces opened fire in Kashmir, Indian...

UN: Islamic State uses tens of thousands as human shields in Mosul

Islamic State militants are using tens of thousands of people as human shields in the extremist group's stronghold...

Report: Houthi rebels in Yemen say missile hit key Saudi airport

Houthi rebels in Yemen and forces loyal to the country's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh claimed to have struck...