District Courts in Tel Aviv and Lod sentenced two Palestinians on Monday for the murder and attempted murder of civilians in terrorist attacks last year.
Raed Khalil bin Mahmoud, 36, from Dura in the West Bank was convicted in July for the murders of Reuven Aviram, 51, and Aharon Yesiav, 32, in a synagogue in the Panorama building in southern Tel Aviv last November. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and an additional 20 years for the attempted murder of three others during his attack.
Khalil was considered an unusual participant in the wave of Palestinian attacks which began in October 2015. He was older than many of the terrorists involved in last year’s stabbing attacks, possessed a work permit to enter Israel, and his wife had just given birth to twins, their fourth and fifth children. Court documents stated that Khalil took a nine-inch knife from the restaurant where he was working and approached the synagogue where 12 men had gathered for afternoon prayers, stabbing Aviram and Yesiav multiple times and subsequently attacking three other people as he fled. He told police investigators that he sought to attack and kill Jews.
Also sentenced on Monday was Tamer Younis Ahmed Vareidat, now 26, from Daheira, near Hebron, for the attempted murder of a 25-year-old man outside a shopping mall in Petah Tikva in October 2015. The Lod District court sentenced him to 16 and a half years imprisonment and to a fine of approximately $26,000 to be paid to the victim’s family.
These attacks were part of what has come to be known as the “lone wolf intifada,” which has left at least 42 dead and 577 injured. The attacks have posed challenges to the security services as they involved makeshift weapons and people with little or no history of security offences who were not on the radar of the intelligence services.
The Palestinian Authority has not publicly condemned the violence and several Israeli politicians have accused it of fostering incitement. At the same time, the PA’s security forces have acted to prevent many attacks.