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Israeli Arabs cleared of murder in soldier killing

Seven Israeli Arabs cleared of 2005 murder of AWOL Israeli Soldier Eden Natan Zada

AFP , Monday 29 Jul 2013
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A court on Monday cleared seven Israeli Arabs of murder in the 2005 mob killing of a soldier, a lawyer for one of the accused said.

"We heard today that the court accepted the defence arguments in full," Sigal Dvori told public radio.

"At the same time the court chose to convict on alternative charges, we shall study the judgement and make a decision later."

In August 2005 AWOL soldier, Eden Natan Zada, opened fire with his automatic rifle on a bus in the northen Israeli town of Shfaram, killing four Arab passengers and wounding more than 20.

Zada, a far-right activist virulently opposed to the withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from Gaza that was then under way, was kicked and beaten to death by an angry mob following his shooting spree.

The radio said that four of the accused were convicted on the lesser charge of attempted manslaughter, and two of aggravated assault, while one was cleared of all charges.

Sentencing is to be handed down at a later date.

The Israeli Arab community has its roots in the 160,000 Palestinians who stayed on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948. Today they and their descendants number around 1.3 million out of a total Israeli population of 7.9 million.

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