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Israeli manslaughter soldier to go to jail Wednesday: army

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Jerusalem (AFP)

An Israeli soldier who shot dead a prone Palestinian attacker will begin an 18-month prison sentence Wednesday, a military court ruled, after his request for a postponement was rejected.

Elor Azaria's appeal for a postponement "was rejected and he must report to the prison to serve his sentence", a military court ruling seen by AFP said.

Azaria had requested that the sentence be postponed until Chief of Staff General Gadi Eisenkot examined a request that his sentence be reduced or changed to community service.

Azaria is expected to begin his sentence in the Tzrifin prison in central Israel early on Wednesday.

On July 30, a military court rejected Azaria's appeal against his conviction for manslaughter and upheld the prison term.

The March 2016 shooting in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron was caught on video by a rights group and spread widely online.

It showed Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, 21, lying wounded on the ground, shot along with another Palestinian after stabbing and wounding a soldier, according to the army.

Azaria then shot him in the head without any apparent provocation.

He said he feared Sharif was wearing an explosive belt and could blow himself up, a claim judges rejected.

A number of Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have spoken out in favour of Azaria being pardoned.

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