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A military court in the West Bank on Thursday handed down multiple life sentences for two Islamic Jihad members who dispatched the female bomber who killed 21 people when she blew herself up at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in October 2003.

The court gave the Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, 36-year-old Amajad Abeidi, 23 life sentences and a further 50 years imprisonment for his role in the attack.

Sami Jaradat, also 36, and a close relative of the bomber, received 21 life sentences and an additional 50 years jail time.

The court hearing was attended by relatives of those killed in the attack, including a number of Israeli Arab families.

Maha Sbith, the sister of one of the victims, from the Galilee village of Psuta, called for the court to hand down a death sentence for the two.

In his summing up, military prosecutor Raad Shanan said that the attack had wiped out entire families and called it an act of murder directed at a symbol of ciexistence between Jews and Arabs.

One of the defendants, Abeidi, claimed that the attack was in response to the deaths of more than 300 Palestinian children due to IDF fire during the years of conflict.

Jaradat said that the suicide bomber had avenged the deaths of his brother and sister from IDF fire.