IDF soldier who killed wounded terrorist released from prison

Elor Azaria, who was imprisoned for shooting a neutralized terrorist in Hebron, has gone home after serving his term.

By: World Israel News Staff

IDF soldier Elor Azaria, who shot a neutralized terrorist in the head, was released from military prison on Tuesday after 394 days of incarceration.

He was released just in time for his brother’s wedding, which he will attend on Wednesday.

Azaria was a combat medic stationed in Hebron in March 2016. He shot a neutralized terrorist who lay wounded on the ground after committing a stabbing attack against Azaria’s colleagues.

Azaria claimed during his trial that he felt his life was in danger, saying he thought the terrorist could have been carrying a bomb on his body.

The prosecution insisted Azaria’s action was unlawful and an act of vengeance, noting the terrorist died of gunshot wounds rather than injuries sustained during the attack.

Azaria was sentenced in February to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter. He lost an appeal in August and submitted a request for clemency to  IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot. In September, Eizenkot announced that he accepted a request for clemency from Azaria and decided to shorten his prison term by four months. President Reuven Rivlin had turned down a similar appeal.

Read  10,000 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel since Oct. 7 attack

The rare case of an active serviceman being tried for shooting a terrorist has polarized Israelis and inflamed public tensions, with some criticizing Azaria’s conduct and large segments of the public rallying behind him.

Commenting on the affair before taking off for Cyprus Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “happy that this thing is over.”