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Wednesday Sept. 14, 2011 9:50 AM (EST+7)
Israel jails Palestinian for settler family murders

Read more: Awarta, prisoners, detainees, Israeli dead, Israeli casualties, settlers, settlements, Itamar, armed resistance

JERUSALEM, Sept 13 (Reuters) - An Israeli military court jailed a Palestinian for life on Tuesday for stabbing to death a Jewish settler couple and three of their children while they slept in a West Bank settlement in March.

Salem Military Court handed down five consecutive life prison terms to Hakim Awwad after he confessed to killing Udi Fogel, 37, his wife Ruth, 36, and their children, Yoav, 10, Eldad, four, and three-month-old Hadas. Two children survived.

A second Palestinian, Amjad Awwad, has also been charged. Both defendants, teenagers from the Palestinian village of Awarta near Itamar, were accused of knifing the Fogels while burgling their home.

The verdict quoted Hakim Awwad's Palestinian lawyer, Riad Aarda, as saying his client had no previous criminal record and that his attack on the Fogels was a result of difficulties faced by Awarta residents under Israeli occupation.

Awwad declined to voice regret for the killings, the verdict said, and told the court it was Israel's military chief who should be charged with murder instead.

Some 500,000 settlers live among 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians fear the enclaves will deny them a viable state on land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Violence in the West Bank has dropped significantly since its peak during a Palestinian uprising that erupted 11 years ago. (Writing by Dan Williams)






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