The sun rises as fishermen are seen at the seaport of Gaza City, April 2, 2019.
(photo credit: SUHAIB SALEM/REUTERS)
Two fishermen in Gaza were sentenced to eight and 13 years in prison, respectively, following a conviction on counts of smuggling bags weighing hundreds of kilograms into the Strip from Egypt.
The Beersheba District Court accepted the position of the State Prosecutor's Office and imposed the sentences on Sunday.
According to the indictment, the defendants Hamis Araishi and Mamdouh Bachar were connected with Fadi Baker, whose trial is ongoing, and smuggled in dozens of bags of explosives weighing hundreds of kilograms in a boat from Egypt to the Gaza Strip, as well as bags of tobacco.
In addition, during the course of 2014, Araishi decided to carry out a suicide attack, and for this purpose, the accused acquired hand grenades and scoped out the border with Israel. During Operation Protective Edge, he realized that the location where he wanted to carry out the attack had already been exposed by IDF forces and therefore decided not to carry out the attack.
During the appeals stage, Attorney Shira Harlap of the Southern District Attorney's Office asked the court to impose significant prison sentences alongside high fines for the defendants. She argued the severity of the offenses in which the defendants were convicted and the protected values that underlie the offenses - state security and the safety of its citizens- come, “at a time when Israel is in a daily struggle against terrorist organizations operating against IDF soldiers and residents of the state.”
"In order to make money, the defendants smuggled explosives, through which the terrorists manufacture weapons used for terrorist attacks against soldiers," she added, “and thus the pair helped arm terrorist organizations."
The District Court, headed by Judge Natan Zlochover, accepted the position of the State Prosecutor's Office and sentenced Araishi to 13 years in prison and Bachar to 8 years in prison.
In addition, the defendants were given suspended sentences and a fine of NIS 30,000 each. "Gaza is a fertile ground for terror operations against Israel and the various organizations are united in a consistent desire to improve the capabilities of the terrorist attack in Israel and do everything possible to equip them with weapons of mass destruction and sabotage," the ruling states.
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