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Omar al-Abed, Palestinian teen who killed 3 settlers in July, sentenced to life in prison

Feb. 15, 2018 12:50 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2018 1:11 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- An Israeli military court on Thursday sentenced Palestinian prisoner Omar al-Abed, 19, to four life sentences for stabbing and killing three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank in July.

As part of the sentence, the court also ordered that al-Abed would be excluded from any future prisoner exchange or release deals between Israel and Palestinian political factions.

Al-Abed, from the Ramallah-area village of Kobar was convicted on three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in December.

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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