By Karen Brooks and Jana J. Pruet
FORT HOOD, Texas, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. Army psychiatrist who has admitted shooting dead 13 fellow soldiers in a 2009 rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, will have a chance to make closing arguments in his court-martial on Thursday, although his intentions were unknown going in.
Major Nidal Hasan, who is acting as his own lawyer, rested his case on Wednesday with no witnesses and without testifying in his own defense on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.
His actions were unpredictable throughout two weeks of emotional prosecution testimony from dozens of witnesses and survivors of the worst non-combat attack ever at a U.S. military base.
He began with an opening statement explaining that he switched sides in what he considered a U.S. war on Islam, telling the jury: "The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter."
Then, amid speculation about the emotional toll on victims who may have had to face cross-examination from him, Hasan, an American-born Muslim, spared them from questioning.
He will be given another chance to address the jury directly in closing arguments set for Thursday, after prosecutors begin their own closing statement. The jury of 13 senior military officers would begin deliberations after that.
Shot by police upon his arrest, Hasan, 42, is paralyzed from the waist down and attends court in a wheelchair.
Prosecutors called 89 witnesses, many of whom described in horrific detail the bloodbath in and around a medical building at Fort Hood, a sprawling military complex in central Texas.
During a hearing over jury instructions on Wednesday, Hasan told military judge Colonel Tara Osborn the attack was motivated by "an illegal war" and that he had "adequate provocation" to launch the attack on soldiers readying to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The shooting on Nov. 5, 2009, came at a time of heightened tensions over the American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which strained relations between the United States and countries with predominantly Muslim populations.
Prosecutors opted against bringing terrorism charges against Hasan, who could face the death penalty if all 13 officers on the jury find him guilty of premeditated murder. (Editing by Daniel Trotta and Maureen Bavdek)