An autopsy of the body of Abed al-Fatah a-Sharif, the terrorist who was shot after he tried to stab several IDF soldiers on Purim morning, proves he was still alive after he was he was shot and neutralized by other soldiers. The shots that killed him were fired by an IDF soldier who is being held under arrest at the IDF facility he is currently serving in, as prosecutors decide what to charge him since he shot – and, according to pathologists – apparently killed, the terrorist who was laying on the ground.
The story was reported Sunday afternoon by Palestinian Authority sources, who quoted the PA pathologist who supervised the autopsy. An official Israeli statement has not yet been forthcoming.
According to the report, the autopsy was conducted by Israeli pathologists at the Abu-Kabir forensic center in Tel Aviv, under the supervision of a Palestinian Authority pathologist. The PA pathologist signed off on the results of the autopsy, which lends credence to the position of the soldier that he shot at a live terrorist out of fear that the wounded attacker would recover sufficiently to attempt to stab another soldiers, or to set off a bomb he might have had on his person that the soldiers had not seen.
The soldier is set to face another hearing on Tuesday, after having been confined to base last Thursday when a military court rejected requests by prosecutors to continue holding him in jail. At that hearing, prosecutors informed the court that they would not charge the soldier with murder, as originally planned, but with manslaughter under extenuating circumstances. They had requested an additional eight days of remand to build a manslaughter case against him, but in light of the pathologist’s finding, that may be difficult to do as well.
At the very least, however, the soldier is likely to be charged with violating protocol, as he apparently did not inform commanding officers of his suspicions regarding the terrorist’s intention.
The furor surrounding the incident has been aggravated by numerous videos which have been distributed showing the events, some with and some without sound. The soldier, who has not been named, was arrested by the army after footage surfaced which purports to show the soldier shooting at the terrorist after he had already been neutralized by other soldiers. The incident occurred Purim morning when two terrorists attacked a group of Israeli soldiers in Tel Rumeida, Chevron. The first terrorist was shot dead right away by other soldiers in a clear act of self-defense.
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 being hit by a bullet as blood flows from his head. After the footage was released, a media furor broke out that night, and the soldier was arrested.
Numerous officials, including IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu immediately condemned the action as “not being in line with the values of the IDF.” Netanyahu later backtracked, and last week called the family of the soldier to tell them that he would guarantee that he would get a fair hearing, despite the media furor.