Palestinian suicide bomber mastermind convicted
JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli military court on Wednesday convicted a Hamas militant on charges of masterminding suicide bomb attacks that killed dozens of Israelis and injured hundreds during a Palestinian uprising in the past decade, the military said.
Ibrahim Hamed was found guilty in the killing of 46 people and the wounding of more than 400 others. "He was responsible for some of the worst terror attacks in the country's history," the military said.
Hamed was found guilty of orchestrating bombings in a Jerusalem cafe, the cafeteria at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other public places during the uprising that began in 2000. Israeli media showed video from the court, where Hamed was seen smiling.
Sentencing was set for next week. The military prosecutor recommended 56 life sentences.
Also Wednesday, a Palestinian rammed his vehicle into an Israeli police car in the West Bank, then attacked a security guard and tried to grab his gun, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The Palestinian was shot and taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. "Police are investigating the incident and believe it was an attempted terror attack," Rosenfeld said.
In another development, Israeli and Palestinian officials said they expect Israel's new deputy prime minister to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas early next week in a bid to restart peace talks.
Negotiations have been frozen for nearly four years because Palestinians refuse to resume talks unless Israel ends settlement construction in territories they claim for their future state. Israel wants talks to start without any preconditions and says all issues should resolved through negotiations.
An Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given his deputy, Shaul Mofaz, the green light for the meeting.
Palestinian officials say they are ready to listen to Mofaz's ideas for resuming dialogue. Both sides confirmed on Wednesday that the meeting is expected in the coming days. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity pending a decision on a final time and place for the meeting.