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Violence erupts outside Israeli military court before shooting verdict

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - 00:50

Supporters of Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, who shot dead a Palestinian assailant as he lay wounded and motionless, rally for his support as judges read verdict in Tel Aviv court. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. Scuffles erupted on Wednesday (January 4) as hundreds demonstrated outside an Israeli military court which was set to hand down its verdict in a divisive shooting case. The incident took place as several hundreds of supporters gathered to protest against an expected conviction of Sergeant Elor Azaria, 20, who was charged with manslaughter in killing of a Palestinian assailant which he shot dead as he lay wounded and motionless on the ground after attempting to stab an Israeli soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron last March. The shooting, and the tense moments leading up to it, were captured on video by a Palestinian human rights activist in the city of Hebron. The video footage, distributed to news organisations, ensured that the incident, which came amid a wave of Palestinian stabbings, drew international attention. The case has divided Israel, with many citizens, right-wing politicians and some celebrities rallying behind Azaria, saying he is being made a scapegoat and should be let off lightly. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICOLE PARNASA, SUPPORTER OF ISRAELI SOLDIER ELOR AZARIA, SAYING: "I think that this soldier came to protect about little children, about families, about parents. This guy (referring to the Palestinian assailant) came to do an attack, to hurt about these families. This soldier is a hero." His actions, they say, were justified by the barrage of Palestinian violence and the general atmosphere of alarm in Hebron, a city where hundreds of Israeli settlers, under heavy army protection, live among some 200,000 Palestinians. On the other side stand serving members of the military establishment, who say the shooting cannot be countenanced, that Azaria, who made far-right, anti-Palestinian postings on Facebook before being conscripted, acted in cold blood and outside military procedures. The manslaughter charge can carry a jail term of up to 20 years, although legal commentators have suggested a sentence of four to five years is more likely if he is found guilty. Ahead of the verdict, family members and supporters have declared that the trial cannot have been fair because of the public outcry and debate the case has provoked.

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Violence erupts outside Israeli military court before shooting verdict

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - 00:50