Soldier Arrested for Shooting ‘Neutralized’ Terrorist

General view of Me'aras Hamachpelah and Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hevron. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90
General view of Me’aras Hamachpelah and Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Chevron. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

An Israeli soldier who shot at a terrorist Thursday morning after a terror attack in Chevron has been arrested and detained while the army investigates the background of the shooting incident. The soldier was arrested after the leftist group Betselem released footage showing the soldier shooting an Arab terrorist who was already on the ground.

The incident occurred Thursday morning, when two terrorists attacked an Israeli soldier in Tel Rumeida, a Chevron neighborhood. The two terrorists were shot by other troops at the scene, and presumed to be dead, the military said in a statement. The soldier, about 20 years of age, was in stable condition, and initial evaluation showed that he had sustained light injuries, according to a spokeswoman for the Shaarei Zedek Hospital in Yerushalayim.

The Palestinian health ministry ministry named the two dead terrorists as Ramzi Al-Qasrawi and Abdel-Fattah Al-Sharif, both 21.

In the video, a soldier is seen cocking his weapon and aiming it in the direction of one of the terrorists. Although the soldier is not seen in the footage because of a passing truck at the moment of the shooting, the terrorist is seen hit with a bullet, and blood flowing from his head. After the release of the video and the uproar it raised in the Israeli media, the IDF arrested the soldier and is holding him while an investigation takes place.

Several officers are seen observing the shooting and taking no action, and an IDF spokesperson said that they, too, will be investigated. In a statement, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkottt said that “this is not the IDF, these are not the values of the IDF and this is not the culture of the IDF.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “what happened in Chevron does not represent the values of the IDF. The IDF expects its soldiers to behave level-headedly and in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

Army Radio quoted family members as saying that the soldier had told them that he shot at the terrorist because he had moved, and was apparently not dead. The soldier feared that the terrorist would get up and grab a weapon to attack another soldier; there was also fear that the terrorist might have been carrying a bomb, which he could have set off even while badly injured. Speaking to Army Radio, the soldier’s attorney said that the footage was clearly taken to present a specific point of view and did not take into consideration all circumstances involved. “Let us not join a mindless parade demanding this soldier’s blood. He is working to defend us, to defend our children,” said the attorney. “The guilty parties will certainly pay the appropriate price.”