‘Shooting of terrorist was not justified’

June 16, 2016  

Troop commander Major Tom Naaman arrived Thursday at Jaffa Military Court to testify in the trial of IDF soldier Elor Azariya, who is facing charges of manslaughter after having shot a wounded Arab terrorist in Hevron.

At the beginning of his testimony, Major Naaman explained that Azariya served under his command for eight months, and that he was a good and disciplined soldier. According to him, having Azariya become the Battalion Medic was a decision made by him based on Azariya’s performance assessment.

The commander recalled that upon arriving at the scene, it was clear to him that one terrorist was dead and a second terrorist appeared to have been dead as well, since he was shot six times. However, he then saw the second terrorist moving his hand, but claimed the knife was out of his reach.

He also addressed the fact that the terrorist was wearing winter clothing on a warm day and claimed that in Hevron, it is normal to see people wearing long sleeved shirts in summer weather, so therefore there was nothing suspicious about his attire.

Commander Naaman said that once he realized the terrorist was shot, he asked the Azariya why he shot him. According to Naaman, Azariya said, “the terrorist was alive – he deserved to die.” According to him, Azariya never mentioned to him anything regarding the possible danger of a knife or explosive device.

The prosecutor specifically asked the commander whether Azariya’s shooting of the terrorist was justified to which he replied, “No.”

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