The IDF soldier who was filmed shooting a Palestinian terrorist in the head Thursday, whilst he lay incapacitated on the ground, said in the aftermath of the incident that what he did was "the right thing."
While speaking to family members in a private conversation hours after his initial arrest by Military Police, the soldier said: "I did the right thing at the right time in order to prevent anything else bad from happening."
The soldier added that he feared that the terrorist, who had already succeeded in stabbing another solider, was going to try to attack other soldiers. "He wore a thick coat and therefore I feared that he would stand and detonate an explosive belt."
"After I saw the terrorist moved," the soldier continued, "I shot him. I just feared that the terrorist would blow himself up."
A lawyer representing the soldier in the matter told Army Radio later Thursday evening that his client was "not guilty" of any wrongdoing and urged the public "not to forget who was defending" them.
"We are too quick to say he was wrong and that he is guilty because of the video...but the soldier is not guilty," the lawyer commented. "Lets not allow his blood to be spilled just yet. Don't forget who is defending [the public], don't forget who is defending your children."
The shooting took place in Hebron, near the Jewish Tel Rumeida neighborhood early Thursday morning.
A volunteer for the Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, who lives near the site of the incident, filmed the unfolding situation from the window of his home. It was posted on line and immediately went viral.
IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz has stated that following the incident the soldier had been detained and will remain in custody until the conclusion of the investigations being conducted by military police surrounding the shooting.
Almoz also emphasized that until proven guilty, the soldier would be regarded as innocent.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa both take a "severe view" of the shooting, Almoz said.
The investigation will "not leave any fact unclear, as to why a soldier opened fire on a terrorist who is lying on the ground. We have to understand what happened in regards to orders. Soldiers, after neutralizing a threat, are supposed to provide medical treatment, even if they are terrorists. There is no room for interpretation here," he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also responded to the incident, stating that the incident does not reflect the values of the army.