Israel Soldier Arrives to Begin Manslaughter Prison Term


An Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a prone Palestinian assailant in a trial that deeply divided the country arrived on Wednesday to begin his 18-month prison term.

Elor Azaria entered the Tserifin military base near the city of Rishon LeZion to begin serving his sentence. 

He arrived in a car festooned with photographs of him and Israeli flags, while motorcycle-riding supporters accompanied him along the route.

A few dozen supporters waved Israeli flags and chanted Azaria's name as the car pulled up.

On July 30, a military court rejected Azaria's appeal against his conviction for manslaughter and upheld the prison sentence.

The March 2016 shooting in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron was caught on video by a human rights group and spread widely online.

It showed Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, 21, lying wounded on the ground, shot along with another Palestinian after stabbing and wounding a soldier, according to the army.

Azaria then shot him in the head without any apparent provocation.

He said he feared Sharif was wearing an explosive belt and could blow himself up, a claim judges rejected.

A number of Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have spoken out in favor of Azaria being pardoned.