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
The sentences for causing aggravated bodily harm and for
endangering human life each added an additional two years to the
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.
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
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
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
“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.
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Paraszczuk contributed to this story.