Autopsy ‘backs case against’ Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

A video showed a21-year-old Palestinian lying on the ground when an Israeli soldier shoots him in the head without any apparent provocation

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An autopsy on a Palestinian assailant showed Sunday that he was killed by a bullet to the head, backing a manslaughter case against an Israeli soldier caught on video shooting him, a doctor said.

The soldier shot Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in the head on March 24 as he lay on the ground while apparently seriously wounded from earlier gunshot wounds.

Video of the incident in Hebron in the occupied West Bank spread widely online and the soldier was arrested, with rights groups labelling it a summary execution.

Prosecutors have said they are investigating the 19-year-old soldier for manslaughter, though he has not yet been charged. His identity has remained secret under a gag order.

Israel’s Supreme Court allowed the Palestinian’s family to have a doctor of their choice observe the autopsy.

“After a full autopsy, the fatal wound was in the head,” the Palestinian doctor, Rayan al-Ali, told AFP.

“There were several gunshot wounds. All those wounds were in the muscles, the lower limbs, and there was a wound in his right lung, but it was not fatal and did not lead to his death.”

An Israeli forensic team that conducted the autopsy came to the same conclusion, a source close to the investigation told local media.

An Israeli military spokeswoman could not confirm the autopsy findings when contacted by AFP.

A finding that Sharif was already dead when the soldier shot him in the head could have complicated the investigation.

Israeli authorities had not yet commented on the autopsy.

Video showed the 21-year-old Palestinian lying on the ground, shot along with another man after stabbing and moderately wounding a soldier minutes earlier, according to the army.

The soldier then shoots him again, in the head, without any apparent provocation.

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 case has threatened to exacerbate Israeli-Palestinian tensions amid a wave of violence that began in October.

It has also led to major controversy in Israel and sparked political tensions, with far-right supporters calling for the soldier’s release.

Violence since October has left 200 Palestinians and 28 Israelis dead.

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