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IDF soldier who shot dead an incapacitated Palestinian knifeman is released

Former sergeant Elor Azaria served two-thirds of a 14-month jail term

    Elor Azaria after he was released from prison on Tuesday
    Elor Azaria after he was released from prison on Tuesday (Photo: Flash90)

    An Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead an incapacitated Palestinian assailant has been released from prison.

    Former IDF sergeant Elor Azaria was greeted by flag-waving supporters after serving two-thirds of his 14-month sentence.

    Earlier this year IDF chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot refused his request for a full pardon, criticising the former soldier over “grave actions for which you did not take responsibility and for which you did not express regret”.

    But the sentence was nonetheless reduced by four months “on grounds of compassion and mercy ... taking into account your past as a combat soldier in an operational theater”.

    He had been due for release on Thursday, but was allowed to leave prison two days early to attend his brother's wedding.

    Azaria was filmed shooting dead a wounded Palestinian man who had stabbed three other Israeli soldiers in March 2016.

    Footage that was widely shared online and Azaria was subsequently arrested by the Israeli military police.

    Following an eight month trial that divided Israeli society, he was found guilty in January 2017, with prominent politicians including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for him to be pardoned.

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