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Arab-Israeli man gets 11 years for broad assassination plot including Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, listens to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat during a special cabinet meeting to mark Jerusalem Day in Ein Lavan, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Thursday, June 2, 2016.
Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP
Another East Jerusalem man was sentenced to 18 years for stabbing to death a British woman in the Old City

An Arab-Israeli man from East Jerusalem was sentenced to 11 years in prison for planning to carry out an assassination plot of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem’s previous mayor Nir Barkat on behalf of a Syrian-based terror group.

30-year-old Muhammad Jamal Rashdah reached a plea agreement that convicted him of conspiracy to aid the enemy in wartime, preparing to carry out deadly terror attacks, spying, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Rashdad was arrested on April 24 and has previously imprisoned for terrorist activities.

Rashdah was operating on orders from a Syrian terrorist operative based in Damascus affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC), a Syria-based terrorist group allied with the regime forces of President Bashar Assad.

“Working on orders from terrorist operatives abroad, Muhammad planned to carry out a number of significant terror attacks against a variety of targets,” Israel’s Shin Bet national security service said.

In the weeks following Rashdah's arrest, Shin Bet detained two further suspects whose identities remain concealed.

Aside from the premier and Jerusalem mayor, the plan also sought to target a delegation of Canadian security representatives residing in Jerusalem to train the Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank, as well as buildings belonging to the American consulate that have since become part of the embassy.

In order to carry out the attacks, Rashdeh and his accomplices had intended to bring in an additional terrorist operative from Jordan, the Shin Bet said. At the time of his arrest, he had already gathered information regarding his targets and had taken preliminary steps to advance his efforts.

Barkat lauded the Israeli security agency as the "best in the world", saying that "throughout their handling of this threat, I was updated and knew that the Shin Bet was in the picture and that the police were in the field. I could trust in them and sleep soundly and securely."

Palestinian who murdered British woman jailed for 18 years

A mentally ill Palestinian man who stabbed a British woman to death near Jerusalem's Old City was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday by an Israeli court.

Hannah Bladon, 20, was stabbed to death on April 14, 2017 by Jamil Tamimi, a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem aged 57 at the time.

Hannah, who had begun studying at the Hebrew University in January on an exchange from the University of Birmingham, had given up her seat on the light rail for a woman holding a baby, Channel 2 said, placing her in proximity to her eventual killer.

A psychiatrist for the Jerusalem district branch of the State Prosecutor’s Office determined that the East Jerusalem resident Tamimi was fit to stand trial.

Tamimi, who was convicted on December 31 and sentenced on Thursday in a plea bargain, had been released from a mental health institution the previous day.

He was furious his children refused his request to stay with them and "resolved to stab someone to death with a knife" he had bought, the ruling said.

UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

According to a Channel 2 television report on Saturday, Tamimi had described the attack to investigators as "an attempted suicide attack," saying he felt he had "nothing left to lose" and had hoped a nearby soldier would shoot and kill him.

He was convicted of murder, with the 18-year prison term constituting a "lesser sentence", the ruling said.

The court noted Tamimi had been sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2000 for committing a sexual crime against a minor in his family.

The murder took place as thousands of Christians from around the world marked Good Friday and Jews marked the week-long Passover holiday.

It also followed a wave of Palestinian knife and car-ramming attacks targeting Israelis.

But the Israeli prosecutor did not consider Tamimi motivated by the Palestinian cause, calling it "a case in which the defendant wished to put an end to his life and tragically chose to do so by taking the deceased's life."

Bladon's parents had asked the court to sentence Tamimi to life in prison, with the judges however deciding on 18 years, which would end when he was "relatively old".

Hannah had been studying religion, theology, and archaeology at the University of Birmingham and began an exchange program in Jerusalem in January. She was returning from an archaeological dig when she was killed, her family said.

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