Austria sentences Hamas man to life for terror plot in Israel
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Austria sentences Hamas man to life for terror plot in Israel

Palestinian released in 2011 Shalit deal sought to enlist West Bank residents to carry out grenade attacks in Jerusalem

Terrorists from the military wing of the Hamas terror group take part in a parade against Israel in Gaza City on July 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
Terrorists from the military wing of the Hamas terror group take part in a parade against Israel in Gaza City on July 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Austria sentenced a Hamas operative to life in prison for enlisting Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets.

The Palestinian man, whose name is being held under gag order in Austria, was sentenced last week, Israel’s Justice Ministry said in a statement.

The Hamas operative was previously serving a life sentence in Israel, but was released to the Gaza Strip in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. He later relocated to Austria.

In 2016, the Palestinian man contacted two residents of the West Bank over the internet and enlisted them to carry out grenade attacks in Jerusalem and to assemble additional cell members.

The planned attacks were never carried out.

After learning of the Hamas member’s intentions, the Shin Bet security agency was able to track him to Austria. The agency also arrested four Palestinians suspected of involvement in the planned attacks, the Justice Ministry said.

Israel also transferred intelligence on the Hamas operative to Austrian authorities, leading to his arrest in Austria.

At Austria’s request, Israel also provided legal assistance in the case, including by allowing the Austrian judge to question the four West Bank residents suspected of involvement in the planned attacks by video conference.

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