Autopsy backs case against Israel soldier who shot Palestinian: doctor

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Ron Kampeas

When an Israeli soldier pulled the trigger on his rifle last month, the shot sparked a debate across the country about the use of force against Palestinians attackers, opening up a rare rift between the Israeli military and the public.

While the Israeli army has opened an investigation and suggested the soldier could be prosecuted for "murder", this was downgraded to "manslaughter".

Although his name has been widely circulated on social media, where he is being hailed as "a hero", the soldier's identity is subject to a gagging order by Israeli military censors.

Israeli doctors conducted the autopsy, which was completed Sunday, at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, with a Palestinian pathologist present.

"After a full autopsy, the fatal wound was in the head", the Palestinian doctor, Rayan al-Ali, told AFP. Minutes later, when the soldier shoots al-Sharif in the head, there is no reaction from the dozen or so soldiers and medics on-site.

Israeli authorities had not yet commented on the autopsy. It found that the soldier who shot the man arrived six minutes after the stabbing and that a few more minutes elapsed before the soldier shot the suspect.

"I'm inviting him again", he said in English.

His lawyers have argued that the soldier may have thought the Palestinian was wearing explosives, but he was reportedly already checked for a suicide belt and no one in the video appears to be acting with caution toward him. The violence between Israelis and Palestinians were mostly shootings, car-ramming assaults, and stabbings. The Israeli army also routinely obstructs Palestinians injured in accidents, ailing or giving birth, leaving the injured and sick dead and babies born at checkpoints.

Exchanges of fire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians broke out during the demolitions and left two Palestinians wounded, Palestinian security sources said.

They have long accused Israel of extra-judicial killings of Palestinian suspects - a charge Israel denies - and believe the Hebron affair erupted due to the fact the killing was filmed by B'Tselem, a human rights group critical of Israel's occupation.

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