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Palestinian gets 3 life terms for murder of Israeli teenagers

Their deaths sparked a 50-day conflict in Gaza, in which more than 2,000 people were killed.

The teenagers' mothers pictured after their disappearance in June.
The teenagers' mothers pictured after their disappearance in June.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

AN ISRAELI MILITARY court has handed three life sentences to a Palestinian militant convicted of organising the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Hossam Qawasme was also ordered to pay 250,000 shekels ($63,000/€53,000) in compensation to each of the three families at a hearing at Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Qawasme was arrested in connection with organising and financing the 12 June kidnapping of the three teenagers that triggered a series of events which led to a deadly 50-day war in Gaza.

“The accused was convicted of the most serious crimes .. the cold-blooded and terrible murder of three young people who were going home to their families,” court documents said.

As a result of his actions, the accused is sentenced to three life terms. He will be removed from society and spend the rest of his life in prison. In addition he will pay compensation of 250,000 shekels to each of the families of the youths.

His two accomplices, Amer Abu Eisha (32) and Marwan Qawasme (29) who carried out the attack, were both shot dead during an exchange of fire with the Israeli army in the southern West Bank city of Hebron in late September.

Israel blamed the bloodshed on Hamas, but although the Islamist movement hailed the attack, it said the three were operating independently.

The June abduction of Gilad Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach from a hitchhiking stop near Hebron sparked a massive manhunt in which hundreds of Palestinians were arrested and at least five killed.

The operation triggered a surge in rocket fire from Gaza that ultimately led to a July-August war which left nearly 2,200 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians, and 73 people dead in Israel, mostly soldiers.

Originally published: 21.24

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