An Israeli military court has convicted a soldier of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an incapacitated Palestinian attacker.

The verdict caps a nine-month saga that has deeply divided the country. Defense officials have criticized Sgt. Elor Azaria’s conduct, while large segments of the Israeli public, along with members of the nationalist ruling coalition, have rallied behind him.

In delivering her verdict, Col. Maya Heller systematically rejected all of Azaria’s defense arguments, saying “the fact that the man on the ground was a terrorist does not justify a disproportionate response.”

Before the verdict, scuffles erupted outside the courtroom between supporters of the soldier and police officers.

Hundreds of demonstrators blocked a major Tel Aviv intersection near the courtroom at military headquarters. Journalists covering the demonstration say they were attacked by demonstrators.


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