A Kfir Brigade soldier who shot and killed an already neutralized Palestinian knife attacker did so alone and without any orders from officers on the scene, an initial IDF investigation determined on Friday.
An investigation by OC Central Command Maj.-Gen.Roni Numa found that the soldier, who is in Military Police custody, arrived at the scene of Thursday’s knife attack in Hebron during which two assailants stabbed an IDF soldier after it had ended.
Soldiers had opened fire on the assailants during the attack, killing one while the other lay on the ground seriously wounded.
Six minutes after the incident ended, the Kfir Brigade soldier arrived and decided, on his own, to fire on the wounded Palestinian assailant, an IDF source said, citing Numa’s investigation results.
Two platoon commanders and a company commander were rebuked by the commander of the Kfir Brigade for failing to provide medical treatment to the wounded attacker, and for not evacuating him to the hospital.
None of the officers expected the soldier to open fire on the wounded Palestinian, the source said.
“Over the past six months, we have provided medical treatment to 170 Palestinians, many of them assailants.
These are military instructions, and this is our norm.
From the moment we take control of the situation, we treat Palestinian wounded and evacuate them to the hospital,” the source said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu weighed in with a Facebook post on Saturday night, saying: “The IDF is a moral army that does not execute people,” he wrote. “IDF soldiers have absorbed with their bodies the terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens and deserve support.”
With regard to Thursday’s incident, he said: “I trust the IDF will conduct a thorough, responsible and fair investigation, as it always does.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.
Gadi Eisenkot, commenting on the incident on Friday, said the military will back soldiers who make mistakes, but will not back those who deliberately violate the IDF’s rules of engagement and ethics.
Eisenkot added that an “impassioned dialogue will not be helpful for a determined, professional military.
There is a very significant difference between supporting soldiers and backing those who violate IDF orders and norms.”
A volunteer for the NGO B’Tselem, who lives near the scene of the incident, filmed the shooting from the window of his home. It was posted online and immediately went viral on Thursday, fueling condemnations from the Left and Right.
“The IDF expects its soldiers to behave with composure and in accordance with the rules of engagement,” Netanyahu said in a statement, adding that this incident does not “represent the values of the IDF.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “We must not allow this loss of control even at a time when our blood boils.
This incident will be dealt with with the utmost severity.”
Speaking to family members in a private conversation hours after his initial arrest, the soldier who fired the shot said affirmed his actions.
“I did the right thing at the right time in order to prevent anything else bad from happening,” he told them, saying he feared the terrorist was going to try to attack other soldiers.
“He wore a thick coat and, therefore, I was afraid he would stand up and detonate an explosive belt. After I saw the terrorist move, I shot him.”
A lawyer representing the soldier told Army Radio later Thursday evening that his client was “not guilty” of any wrongdoing.
“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. “Let’s 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.”Noam Amir/Maariv Hashavua contributed to this report.