A truck driver who killed a man and wounded 17 others during a terror attack in
Tel Aviv on “Nakba Day” last year was pronounced guilty of murder on
In a unanimous ruling, the Tel Aviv District Court said Ibrahim
Islam Issa, a 23-year-old resident of Kafr Kasim, near Rosh Ha’ayin, 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 on May 15, 2011, the date
Palestinians mark as “Nakba Day,” a day of mourning marking the anniversary of
the founding of the State of Israel.
According to the indictment, Issa
was motivated by nationalist ideology and planned the attack in advance, aiming
to kill as many Jews as possible.
Issa 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, Avi Morag, a 29- year-old man from
He then crashed into seven more vehicles, including a scooter
and a bus, before getting out of his truck and beating passersby with a blunt
object while shouting “Allahu Akbar” and racial epithets against Jews, the
Issa’s defense argued that he had not intended to kill
anyone and that he had lost control of his 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.”
Judges Gilya Ravid, Gilad Neuthal and Meir
Yifrach convicted Issa of murder.
Under the Penal Code, a murder
conviction requires that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a
killing was premeditated.
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.
Issa was also
convicted of six counts of attempted murder, causing injury and aggravated
injury, and endangering life on a public highway.
The court will sentence
Issa at a later date. A murder conviction entails a mandatory penalty of life