Israel denies pardon for soldier who killed wounded attacker

November 19, 2017 GMT

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s president has denied a request for pardon by an imprisoned soldier who was convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker.

A statement from President Reuven Rivlin’s office Sunday says he rejected the request by Elor Azaria because it would harm the “resilience” of Israel’s military. Rivlin said a chief value of the military was the “purity of arms,” or the use of weapons with only necessary force.

Azaria began serving an 18-month sentence in August. Israel’s military chief later reduced the sentence by four months.

Azaria was caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker. His case sharply divided the nation. Israel’s military pushed for his prosecution, saying he violated its code of ethics. Many Israelis, particularly on the nationalist right, defended his actions.