Arab Israelis jailed for killing Jewish gunman

AFP , Thursday 28 Nov 2013

An Israeli court on Thursday jailed six Arab citizens for killing a far-right soldier after he slew four Arabs and wounded more than 20 in a 2005 shooting spree.

Three of the men received two-year prison sentences and the others got terms ranging from 11-20 months, documents published by the Haifa district court showed.

They were initially charged with murder but the court in July found them guilty only on lesser counts of attempted murder and assault.

A seventh man, convicted of aggravated assault, received a suspended sentence.

In August 2005, AWOL soldier Eden Natan Zada opened fire with his assault rifle on a bus in the northern 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 the Gaza Strip that was about to start, was kicked and beaten to death by an angry mob after he ran out of ammunition.

Following Thursday's sentencing, about 500 Arab protestors scuffled with police outside the court, a police spokeswoman said.

"We will not accept any verdict that does not include the freedom for all the prisoners" Arab Israeli MP Mohammed Barakeh, a Shfaram resident, told AFP.

"We shall organise to protest against this decision," he said.

The Arab Israeli 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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