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Nakba Day attack truck driver sentenced to life
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
11/14/2012
Court sentences truck driver who killed a man, wounded 17 others in the Tel Aviv attack to life imprisonment and additional 40 years.
 
A truck driver who killed a man and wounded 17 others during a terror attack in Tel Aviv on Nakba Day last year was sentenced to life imprisonment plus an additional 40 years for murder, attempted murder, causing aggravated bodily injury and endangering human life.

The murder and attempted murder convictions carried the life prison sentence plus an additional 36 years in prison.

The sentences for causing aggravated bodily harm and for endangering human life each added an additional two years to the sentence.

The truck driver, Ibrahim Islam Issa, tried to argue for a lenient sentence, citing psychological problems and that he had expressed regret for his actions.

The court rejected both arguments, citing two psychological evaluations which said Issa could judge between right and wrong and stating that throughout the trial, Issa had lied repeatedly and refused to accept responsibility for his actions.

The sentences started to run from May 15, 2011, the date of the offenses and the date Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day, a day of mourning marking the anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

Issa was convicted in July in a unanimous ruling in which the Tel Aviv District Court said that the 23-year-old Kafr Kasim resident was guilty of premeditated murder when he swerved his 15-ton Volvo truck into a line of vehicles and pedestrians on a busy Tel Aviv road.

According to the indictment, Issa was motivated by nationalist ideology and planned the attack in advance, aiming to kill as many Jews as possible.

He began the attack at 9:30 a.m. on Bar-Lev Street, smashing into a car decorated with an Israeli flag and killing the driver, Aviv Morag, a 29-year-old man from Givatayim.

Issa then crashed into seven more vehicles, including a scooter and a bus, before getting out of his truck and beating a passerby with a blunt object, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” and racial epithets against Jews, the indictment said.

His defense argued that he had not intended to kill anyone and that he had lost control of the truck.

In court, Issa testified that he had fallen asleep at the wheel before hitting the cars. He said that he was not racist and had never contemplated harming Jews, and denied shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Under the Penal Code, a murder conviction requires that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a killing was premeditated.

Judge Gilya Ravid said the fact that Issa had crossed a red light at high speed and slammed his truck into vehicles at a junction, demonstrated that he had intended to cause the death of the people in those cars.

“This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that [Issa] did not stop after the smash and was not interested in what had happened to the passengers affected by it, and did not try to get help,” Ravid said.

Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this story.
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