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 Thursday.

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 Givatayim.

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 indictment said.

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 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.

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 imprisonment.

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