Last update - 20:56 22/01/2008
PA court sentences killers of two Israelis to 15 years
By Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondents
A special Palestinian Authority court in Hebron on Tuesday sentenced two PA employees to 15 years in jail for shooting dead two Israelis hiking near Hebron last month.
The two, 24-year-old Amar Taha, a Palestinian police officer, and 26-year-old Ali Dandanes, a PA court clerk, turned themselves in after killing Ahikam Amihai and David Rubin roughly three weeks ago, fearing they would be captured by Israeli security forces.
Amihai and Rubin were Israel Defense Forces soldiers on leave from their units. They were hiking near Hebron when they came under fire from three Palestinian terrorists in a Jeep.
Amihai and Rubin were both armed, and managed to return fire, killing one of the terrorists. Their female companion, a Kiryat Arba resident who had joined them for the hike, was uninjured.
The Palestinian intelligence agencies did not immediately inform Israel that the terrorists were in their custody, and only did so once the Shin Bet security service approached Palestinian officials.
Following the Shin Bet request, Palestinian intelligence confirmed that the terrorists had turned themselves in, and handed over to Israel the victims' weapons, which the assailants had taken following the attack, as well as the weapons used in the shooting.
According the Palestinian inquiry, the attack was premeditated, and the terrorists had waited for an opportune time to carry it out. One of the terrorists spotted the three Israeli hikers, and called the other two terrorists to the scene in order to carry out the attack.