4 Bakri Family Members Convicted of Hosting Suicide Bomber

Uri Ash, Haaretz Correspondent
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Uri Ash, Haaretz Correspondent

The parents and two cousins of Ibrahim Bakri, who was found guilty of murdering nine Egged bus passengers in a suicide bombing at the Meron Junction in August 2002, were convicted Wednesday of hosting the terrorist who carried out the bombing.

The four let the bomber, Jihad Hamada, sleep in their homes and in a kindergarten in the Galilee village of Ba'aneh.

The Acre Magistrate's Court ruled, however, that the four were unaware of the terrorist's intention to carry out a suicide attack.

Three of the defendants were also convicted of obstructing justice by coordinating versions after the attack to protect Ibrahim Bakri.

His mother, Malka, was convicted of destroying evidence, by handing over Ibrahim's cellular phone to Yassin Bakri, who assisted in carrying out the attack, who then smashed it to bits.

Ibrahim and Yassin Bakri were sentenced in April 2003 by the Haifa District Court to nine life sentences and 30 additional years in jail after being found guilty of the murders of the nine bombing victims, and of assisting the suicide bomber to plan and execute the attack.

Mohammed and Malka Bakri, Ibrahim's parents, and Mohammed's brothers - Aziz and Mahmoud Bakri, were convicted of violating the law that bans Israelis from giving shelter to West Bank residents.

Judge Rahamim Tzemach ruled that the Bakris let Jihad Hamda sleep in their house and Aziz let him stay at his wife's kindergarten; Mahmoud Bakri admitted that Hamda had slept at his home.

The judge rejected the defendants' claims that they did not know that Hamda was staying in Israel illegally.

"The defendants knew Jihad had been deported, that he was a resident of the territories and that he was staying in the country without a permit," Tzemach said.

Bakri's parents and his uncle Aziz were also convicted of coordinating versions after the suicide bombing took place.

At Ibrahim's request, they said that Hamda did not sleep at their homes before the attack, and Mohammed and Aziz Bakri provided an alibi for Ibrahim by saying that he was working with Aziz in Kafr Manda at the time when he in fact drove the suicide bomber to Meron Junction.