Israel Convicts Palestinian Over Deadly West Bank Shooting Attack

Military court finds that Muntasir Shalabi, a U.S. citizen, killed Yehuda Guetta in the May attack ■ U.S. Embassy has condemned the demolition of his family home

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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The scene of the shooting attack that killed Yehuda Guetta in May.
The scene of the shooting attack that killed Yehuda Guetta in May.Credit: Moti Milrod
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

A military court convicted a Palestinian on Tuesday of deliberately causing death – an offense comparable to murder under military law – for a May shooting attack in the West Bank that killed an Israeli and wounded two others. 

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The Ofer Military Court found that Muntasir Shalabi, a Palestinian-American, committed the shooting at a bus stop that killed 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta. Shalabi was also convicted of attempting to deliberately cause death and of illegal possession of weapons. Shalabi was captured by security forces hours after the attack.

Shalabi was accused of shooting Guetta and his two friends at close range from his car, desisting only after his pistol stopped working and then fleeing the scene. Police said he had sought to harm soldiers or Jewish civilians, and planned the act for a month. He had prepared a will, practiced shooting, and planned to carry out the attack previously but postponed it twice, according to authorities.

The military prosecution claimed that after Shalabi hid at the homes of friends after he fled the scene. But defense officials believed that Shalabi acted alone, and the indictment did not mention any accomplices.

The army demolished Shalabi’s home, where his wife and three children lived, in the village of Turmus Ayya last month, after the High Court of Justice dismissed a petition filed by his family against the demolition.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel condemned the demolition, saying that all sides should "refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution, this certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes."

The demolition was accompanied by clashes between security forces and some 200 Palestinians.

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