Prosecution to file indictment against Hevron soldier, charging manslaughter

Army prosecutors expected on Monday afternoon to file an indictment charging manslaughter against the IDF soldier held responsible for the Hevron shooting of a terrorist, after nearly four weeks of investigation.

“There’s a huge gap between the operational investigation from which the indictment was drawn, and the existing evidence in the file,” an anonymous source close to the investigation told Maariv.

“The IDF wants to conduct an all-encompassing investigation in which witness soldiers will be able to speak the truth without fear. A classified indictment cannot be charged under these circumstances,” the source added.

The IDF claims the evidence in the case is not based on the operational investigation, but on witness accounts that were amassed over the past four weeks, along with unreleased video reels which make clear that the shooting was not based on operational needs.

In a hearing last Thursday at the Jaffa Military Court, the prosecution called for an extension of the soldier’s detention until Monday in order to file charges based on technical aspects of the case.

The military prosecution referred to the autopsy of the Arab terrorist, claiming that the report found that his death was caused by soldier gunfire.

The prosecution added that forensic testing had verified the unaltered authenticity of the central video in the case that shows the soldier shooting the terrorist.

Meanwhile, the defense argued that there was no justification for the soldier to remain in remand, and that the case could be managed without his confinement to an IDF base.

The March 24 incident was picked up on video, went viral online and has dominated the airwaves with a war of words over the soldier’s guilt or innocence pitting Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who condemned the soldier, against various politicians, who say they rushed to judgment.

On Monday, a transcript of the interrogation of the IDF soldier was leaked and aired by Channel 2. It showed many statements by the soldier contradicting the prosecution’s narrative of the incident.

In the transcript, the soldier tells his interrogators that shortly before he killed the terrorist, “at that moment, someone, maybe one of the civilians, yelled ‘careful, he has a bomb on him,’ meaning an explosive vest. And I saw him with a big black coat, I think it was closed. I started to think about images of Hamas cells that said to us that it was intended to do a substantial attack, maybe a suicide [bombing].”

Later, the soldier says that if the terrorist had worn an explosive vest and blown up killing nearby soldiers, investigators would have asked why no one shot him.