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Israeli court convicts Palestinian teen on 3 murder counts over killing of Israeli settlers

Dec. 27, 2017 4:54 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 28, 2017 6:16 P.M.)
Omar al-Abed
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian teenager who stabbed and killed three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank five months ago has been convicted on three counts of murder, according to Israeli news website Ynet.

The Israeli Ofer military court convicted 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, a resident of the central occupied West Bank village of Kobar, on Wednesday, while the military prosecutor asked that al-Abed receive four life sentences -- one for each murder, and one for attempted murder, Ynet reported.

Al-Abed carried out the attack in July in the illegal Halamish settlement, nearby his village in the Ramallah district.

The victims as were Yosef Salomon, 70, and his adult children, Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. Tova Salomon, 68, Yosef Salomon's wife, was seriously wounded in the attack.

The settler family were were reportedly having shabbat dinner with about 10 members of their family when the al-Abed broke into their house. A neighbor, a soldier in the Israeli army, reportedly heard the disturbance, and arrived to the scene and shot and moderately wounded al-Abed.

The deadly attack took place after three Palestinians were killed -- two of them by Israeli police and one reportedly by an Israeli settler -- when large-scale civil disobedience demonstrations in Jerusalem erupted into violent clashes.

Al-Abed reportedly wrote on Facebook before carrying out the attack: "I have many dreams and I believe they will come true, I love life and I love to make others happy, but what is my life is when they (Israel) murder women and children and defile our Al-Aqsa?"

"All I have is this sharpened knife to comply with the call of our Aqsa… If you don't open its gates, I am confident that others will follow me to strike with an iron hand. I am warning you,” he continued, referring to Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the summer, when Israeli forces installed metal detectors at the holy site.

In the wake of the Halamish stabbing, Israeli forces imposed a series of punitive measures on the family of the al-Abed, and the residents of Kobar, temporarily sealing the village, detaining the al-Abed's brother and mother, raiding the local health clinic, and destroying al-Abed’s home.

The Israeli government has long faced criticism for its response to attacks, with rights groups saying severe security measures amount to collective punishment and a violation of international law.

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