Terrorist victim Ezra Schwartz.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The terrorist responsible for the death of Ezra Schwartz and two others in a drive-by shooting in November 2015 was sentenced to four life prison terms by the Judea Military Court on Sunday.
Schwartz, an 18-year-old American from Sharon, Massachusetts, was on a gap year in an Israeli yeshiva. He was one of three victims killed in a terrorist attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank in November 2015. Seven others were lightly wounded in the attack.
Palestinian Shadi Arafeh, 24, of Hebron, was also pronounced dead at the scene, and Yaakov Don, 49, a teacher and father of four who lived in the nearby Alon Shvut settlement, was evacuated to Hadassah- University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem in serious condition, but was pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital.
The terrorist, Muhammad Haruv, was sentenced to four life prison terms for the three deaths and numerous attempted murders in the drive-by shooting, during which he fired dozens of bullets.
He was also fined NIS 750,000.
Schwartz was in a van with five others friends from Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, where he studied. They were in the area to distribute food to soldiers stationed in there, and their van was among the many cars stuck in traffic at the junction.
Haruv drove through the junction and opened fire with an automatic rifle at the cars before ramming a vehicle with his car. Security forces surrounded the car and arrested him.
Magen David Adom paramedics pronounced Schwartz dead at the scene. His five friends were evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Three were treated for light injuries and two for shock; they were all released.
Two Israeli women, one lightly injured from the gunfire and another from the car accident, were taken to Shaare Zedek, where they were kept overnight.
Funeral of American terror victim Ezra Schwartz
The United States harshly condemned the attack at the time.
“We condemn these terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in the strongest possible terms,” Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the State Department, told The Jerusalem Post. “As we’ve made clear, we remain deeply concerned about the situation and continue to urge all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and prevent actions that would further escalate tensions.”
Hours after the attack, friends posted messages about Schwartz on his Facebook page, and the attack gained international attention.
Tovah Lazaroff and Michael Wilner in Washington contributed to this report.