Israeli who 'executed' Palestinian released from jail for Passover

Israeli who 'executed' Palestinian released from jail for Passover
2 min read
22 April, 2016
An Israeli soldier who shot dead an immobile Palestinian has been released from prison to celebrate Passover with his family, after a week of rallies in support of Azria.
Palestinians say Azria murdered an injured Palestinian man [AFP]

An Israeli soldier charged with shooting dead a wounded and immobile Palestinian man was released from jail where he in being held on charges of manslaughter.

Elor Azria was released from custody Friday for the Jewish Passover festival despite the serious charges against him.

"Azria was released home for the Passover holiday," an army statement said.

The 19-year-old will have to report back to a military base Sunday morning after spending time with his family to mark the start of the week-long holiday.

But the decision has sparked outrage among Palestinians who view Azria as a murderer.

Friends and relatives held a rapturous welcome for the soldier at his home in the central Israeli city of Ramle, while supporters gathered outside.

When Azria arrived, a crowd broke out into applause.

Passover is a major Israeli holiday that commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt in Biblical times.

Azria, who also holds French citizenship, was charged with manslaughter and unbecoming conduct on Monday.

It followed the slaughter of a Palestinian man lying on the ground on March 24 in the southern West Bank city Hebron.

A video of the killing showed Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, 21, lying on the ground, shot along with another man. The Israeli army said that Sharif had stabbed - moderately wounding - a soldier minutes earlier.

Azria, who was not at the scene during Sharif's attack, then shoots him in the head without provocation. His lawyers argued he thought the Palestinian was wearing explosives, although this has been widely disputed.

Right-wing politicians have argued he has been unfairly treated and earlier this week thousands of people attended a controversial rally in support of the soldier.

Protesters called for "death to Arabs", and celebrated the killing of the injured Palestinian.