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Soldier convicted in death of Palestinian assailant

Published:Thursday | January 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM


An Israeli soldier was convicted of manslaughter yesterday in the deadly shooting of an incapacitated Palestinian attacker, capping a nine-month saga that has deeply divided the country.

The verdict, which marks an extremely rare case of an Israeli military court siding against a soldier over lethal action taken in the field, threatened to deepen the rift. Military commanders have condemned the soldier's conduct while much of the public, along with leading members of the nationalist ruling coalition, have rallied behind him.

With Sgt Elor Azaria's sentencing believed to be weeks away, the country now faces a heated debate over whether he deserves clemency. Within minutes of the verdict, leading politicians were already calling for him to be pardoned. Under Israeli law, the country's largely ceremonial president has the authority to issue a pardon.