An Israeli military court on Monday convicted a Hamas cell leader for the murder of Israeli teen Dvir Sorek in 2019.

In its decision, the court accepted the prosecution’s contention that Ahmad Asafra, who led the cell that carried out the attack but was not actually present when the crime was committed, was responsible for intentionally causing Sorek’s death. That charge is equivalent to murder in the military court.

Asafra was also convicted of two other charges of attempting to cause intentional death, as well as a series of security offenses, according to an IDF statement. The court has not yet sentenced him.

Yusef Zohar, another cell member, was convicted of a number of security offenses and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 15 years. Zohar, too was not present when the murder was committed.

These latest convictions bring the total number of Palestinians convicted for the attack to four. In December, Qassem and Nasir Asafra, who are cousins, were sentenced to life imprisonment for Sorek’s murder. Qassem Asafra was also charged with the attempted murder of two Israelis in a 2011 Beersheva terrorist attack, for which he was not apprehended at the time.

Sorek was only 18 at the time of his death. He was enrolled in a hesder yeshivah program, which combines army service with Torah study. He was off-duty and was attacked after he alighted from a bus close to the Migdal Oz yeshivah.

Under interrogation, the attackers admitted they planned the murder ahead of time and laid in wait for an Israeli to appear. They said their motivation was due to “the suffering of the Palestinian people” and “the situation at Al-Aqsa,” according to transcripts obtained by the Yediot Acharanot newspaper.


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