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Palestinian accused of 2001 assassination sentenced to 30 years in Israel

Dec. 1, 2008 5:09 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 1, 2008 5:09 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The fourth Palestinian charged in the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism in 2001 was sentenced to life plus five years in prison by the Israeli Military Jerusalem District Court on Monday.

Although the court did not find Ahed Ghalmah guilty of active involvement with the assassination of Rehavam Zeevi, he was found to be one of the instigators of the killing, specifically in attending meetings where 'details of the attack were finalized.'

The 40-year-old Ghalmah was a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and head of the PLFP's military wing at the time of the assassination, was also found guilty of membership in a "terror organization."

Three other PFLP members were tried and convicted for their involvement in the assassination, including:

Basil Asmar, found guilty of plotting to kill Zeevi and sentenced to 45 years

Hamdi Qur'an, who shot Zeevi and was sentenced to two life sentences plus 100 years

Majdi Rahima Rimawi, called the "mastermind" of the operation and sentenced to 105 years, which included sentences for a car bombing and a shooting attack in a Jerusalem hotel.

Ahmad Sa'adat, secretary general of the PFLP, was initially charged as well, but the Israeli prosecutor was forced to drop the case after collecting insufficient evidence to continue. He was later tried in a military court for unrelated charges.

The assassination of Zeevi took place in the Hyatt hotel in Jerusalem on 17 October 2001. The PFLP claimed the attack and said it was in retaliation for the assassination of PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustafa earlier that year. A right-wing nationalist, Zeevi advocated the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.

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