Arab Israeli convicted of deadly 2017 terror shootings in Haifa
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Arab Israeli convicted of deadly 2017 terror shootings in Haifa

Muhammad Shinawi, 22, who killed an Israeli man and seriously wounded another 18 months ago, confesses to all charges in indictment

Muhammad Shinawi, accused of murder and attempted murder for three shooting attacks in the northern port city of Haifa on January 3, 2017. (Social media)
Muhammad Shinawi, accused of murder and attempted murder for three shooting attacks in the northern port city of Haifa on January 3, 2017. (Social media)

An Arab Israeli man was convicted Tuesday of carrying out a pair of shooting attacks in the northern city of Haifa in January 2017, killing an Israeli man and seriously wounding another.

Muhammad Shinawi, 22, was convicted of all the charges against him after admitting to all the facts laid out in the indictment, according to a statement from the Justice Ministry.

The Haifa District Court found Shinawi guilty of murder out of a religious, nationalist or ideological motive, attempted murder, possessing and transporting a gun for terror purposes, attempted robbery and theft of a car, and possessing a knife.

At 3:30 a.m. on January 3, 2017, Shinawi asked his brother, a minor who was unaware of his intentions, to bring him the home-made gun the elder brother had purchased in late 2015 and kept hidden in his parents’ apartment, according to the charge sheet filed several weeks after the shooting spree

The two met, and Shinawi took the loaded gun and set off to carry out the attacks later that morning, according to the indictment.

Forensic examiners investigate the scene were a man was murdered after an Arab Israeli gunman opened fire, killing one person, in Haifa, January 3, 2017. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

Yehiel Iluz, 48, a senior judge on a Haifa rabbinic conversion court, was wounded at 9:30 a.m., in the first shooting on the city’s Haatzma’ut Road. A few minutes later, the shooter opened fire at a Jewish woman, but missed. And a few minutes after that, Guy Kafri, 47, a van driver from Haifa’s Nesher neighborhood, was shot and killed on the nearby Hagiborim Street.

Shinawi was caught several days later after a large manhunt.

During his interrogation, Shinawi said he carried out the attacks “out of a nationalist motivation and hatred of Jews,” the Shin Bet said shortly after the arrest.

Family and friends attend the funeral of Guy Kafri, who was killed in a Haifa shooting, at a cemetery in the community of Ofer, south of Haifa, on January 5, 2017. (Basel Awidat/FLASH90)

After the attack, Shinawi allegedly hid the Carlo-style submachine gun — an illegal, cheap improvised firearm — used in the attack, along with other belongings, in a grove near his parents’ house, the Shin Bet said.

At the time of his arrest in January, the Shin Bet security agency said that Shinawi was motivated to carry out the two shooting attacks after his girlfriend called him a “Zionist Jew” and a “Jew lover.”

According to the Shin Bet, before the attacks, Shinawi adopted more radical Islamic beliefs, considering Jews to be “unbelievers whose judgment is death.”

Muhammad Shinawi, along with two other men accused of assisting him in a pair of shooting attacks, seen at the Haifa District Court on January 30, 2017. (Flash90)

In May 2017, Shinawi reportedly punched an Israel Prisons Service guard during a court hearing. He was then tackled by several officers and removed from the Haifa District Court, while still trying to hit the guards, Channel 2 reported at the time.

Two other men — Khaled bin Atef Abu Kleib, 21, and Ihab bin Ayoub Yusef‬, 20 — were also accused of helping and hosting Shinawi after the attack.

Prosecutors told the judges during Tuesday’s discussion that they will demand a life sentence for Shinawi.

Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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