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Israeli Soldier Who Killed Disarmed Terrorist Asks IDF Chief For Leniency

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli soldier convicted of shooting a downed Palestinian terrorist has asked the head of the Israel Defense Forces for leniency.

Elor Azaria made the request of Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot days after a military appeals court upheld both the conviction and the 18-month prison sentence, which the prosecution had called too lenient. Azaria reportedly will not appeal the decisions to Israel’s Supreme Court.

In the letter, Azaria reportedly repeated his defense that he believed the Palestinian attacker was planning a suicide bombing from his prone position after he was shot and injured by other soldiers.

Azaria has not expressed remorse for his actions; regretting them could help him obtain leniency, observers say.

Azaria’s attorney, Yoram Sheftel, attacked Eisenkot in a television interview Monday, saying the chief of staff “is fat and doesn’t project a soldierly image in his appearances.”

Following the verdict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and several other Israeli government ministers called for Azaria to be pardoned. Netanyahu also backed a pardon following Azaria’s conviction in January.

Azaria, who was sentenced in February, has been under house arrest since leaving the military last week. He had been confined to the closed Nachshonim military base since being arrested in March 2016.

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