Death Sentence Ordered in Israel Suicide Bombing Case

From Reuters

An Israeli military court Thursday sentenced to death a Palestinian for plotting a suicide bus bombing that killed six people last April.

If the sentence is upheld, Said Badarneh, 24, of the militant Muslim Hamas movement, would become the second person to be executed in Israel. Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann was hanged in 1962.

Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence.

The court deliberated for five hours before announcing its decision.

Hamas warned that if Israel carried out the sentence, it would be costly.

"Israel will pay a high price for that," Imad Falouji, one of the top Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, said when asked about the ruling. "They are committing a big mistake.

"They (Israel) will encourage our Islamic fighters to make more suicide attacks," he said.

The three-judge court sitting in Janin in the West Bank said Badarneh, of the West Bank village of Yabad, sent the suicide bomber to blow up a bus in the central station of Hadera in northern Israel on April 13.

Thirty people were wounded in the attack.

Hamas, which rejects Israel's right to exist, said at the time that the attack was to avenge the February massacre of Arab worshipers by a Jewish settler in the West Bank town of Hebron.

The sentence can still be overturned by a military court of appeals or by the Israeli army commander responsible for the occupied West Bank. There have been several cases of death sentences imposed by Israeli military courts being reversed on appeal.

Israel Radio quoted the judges as saying they were aware the world community opposed capital punishment. But it said the court made a point of saying long jail terms had so far failed to deter a wave of suicide attacks by Islamic militants.

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