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Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter over Palestinian assailant's death

20-year-old Sergeant Elor Azaria shot and killed a Palestinian man at point blank range last March after he had stabbed a colleague of his.

Israeli soldier Elor Azaria (centre), who shot dead a wounded Palestinian assailant, sits with his parents and girlfriend Orel as he awaits the verdict in his case at the military court in Tel Aviv on 4 January 2017. Picture: AFP.

TEL AVIV - An Israeli soldier has been convicted of manslaughter in a case that has divided Israeli and international public opinion.

20-year-old Sergeant Elor Azaria shot and killed a Palestinian man at point blank range last March after he had stabbed a colleague of his.

The soldier argued that the man was wearing a thick jacket as he lay on the ground and he couldn't be sure he didn't have an explosive belt on him.

But the court found that the soldier provided a non-credible version of events and that it was his shooting that killed Palestinian man Abed al Fatah a-Sharif as he lay defenceless on the ground.

Ten minutes earlier a-Sharif had stabbed another Israeli soldier.

The shooting was captured on camera by a resident of the city and caused a huge debate in Israeli society, dividing opinions.

Sentencing of Azaria will be handed down at a later date.

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