Israeli court hands Palestinian gunman 2 life sentences for murder

2 min

Jerusalem (AFP)

An Israeli military court sentenced a Palestinian Monday to two life terms for shooting dead Israeli hiker Danny Gonen in the occupied West Bank 19 months ago, the army said.

The Judea military court also ruled that Mohammad Abu Shahin must pay Gonen's family 3.5 million shekels ($910,000, 860,00 euros) in compensation for the June 19, 2015 killing, a statement said.

Gonen's friend Netanel Hadad was also wounded in the attack.

Abu Shahin was also convicted of 13 counts of attempted murder for a series of shootings between April 2014 and July 2015 targeting Israeli civilians and security forces, the statement said.

A soldier was wounded in one of the attacks.

The court said Abu Shahin targeted "soldiers and civilians solely because they were Jewish" and recommended that he should not be pardoned ant that his sentence should not be shortened, it added.

The shooting of Gonen, 25, and Hadad, which took place near the Dolev settlement west of Ramallah, sparked outrage among Israelis. The two were not settlers but hikers from Lod in central Israel.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency said Abu Shahin belonged to an armed group linked to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party.

Abu Shahin was arrested in July 2015 and months later the army demolished his home, as part of controversial measures by Israel to deter further attacks.

A wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks erupted in October 2015.

The violence had subsided in recent months but on Sunday a Palestinian rammed his truck into a group of soldiers, killing four.

Since October 2015, 247 Palestinians, 40 Israelis, two Americans, a Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed, according to an AFP count.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out attacks, according to Israeli authorities. Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some died in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.