Terrorist Convicted of Murders in Givat Assaf, Ofra

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Palestinian man was convicted on Thursday of three acts of homicide in terror attacks on December 2018 that led to the deaths of two soldiers and an unborn baby.

The Ofer Military Court issued the ruling after Asem Barghouti confessed to the charges, according to media reports. He was also found guilty on 12 counts of attempted murder, obstruction of justice and membership in a banned association.

Barghouti was arrested in January and accused of carrying out a shooting attack at a bus stop near the outpost of Givat Assaf on December 13 and of assisting his brother Salih in a shooting attack at a bus stop near Ofra on December 9.

Two soldiers, Sgt. Yosef Cohen Hy”d, and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, Hy”d, were killed in the Givat Assaf attack. Another soldier, Israeli-American Netanel Felber, ybl”c, was seriously injured, and Shira Sabag, a civilian woman, was also hurt in the shooting.

An expectant mother, Shira Ish-Ran, was seriously wounded in the Ofra attack, and the unborn child died two days later despite doctors’ efforts to save him.

Her father, Chaim Silverstein, told Arutz Sheva after the court’s ruling, “We’ve just left the hearing at the Ofer military court, where the terrorist – after many months of ups and downs in the courts – finally confessed and admitted that he carried out the attack on our daughter, in which our first grandson was murdered by this vile terrorist,” Silverstein said.

“The next stage is hearing what kind of punishment he’ll get, which will be in a few weeks, and we hope that he’ll get at least three life sentences and will never see the light of day [again].”

Maurice Hirsch, attorney for the Ish-Ran and Mor-Yosef families, commented:

“The terrorist admitted to the murder of three people in court today and the injury or attempted murder of dozens of others. He finally decided to confess, having dragged out the trial for almost a year. He understood that he had no way out based on his confession and the other evidence available.

“The sadness for the Mor-Yosef family is that the idea of capital punishment – of a death sentence for Barghouti – has been taken off the table entirely due to political decisions. That’s what they think is the rightful punishment – and only the death sentence for a terrorist like Barghouti, who is a repeat offender, will restore Israel’s deterrence – deterrence that doesn’t really exist.”