Arab Israeli sentenced to 8 years for plotting to attack soldiers
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Arab Israeli sentenced to 8 years for plotting to attack soldiers

Firas al-Omari, 46, was convicted of joining Hamas and planning a terror attack in the Negev to avenge the outlawing of Northern Branch of Islamic Movement

Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers checking Palestinian cars at a checkpoint in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, February 10, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers checking Palestinian cars at a checkpoint in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, February 10, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

A court in the southern city of Beersheba on Sunday sentenced an Arab Israeli man to eight years in prison for planning terror attacks against IDF soldiers.

According to the charge sheet, 46-year-old Firas al-Omari from the village of Sandala was the leader of a terror cell that set out to avenge the outlawing of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel in November 2015.

Omari, a member of the Islamic Movement until it was declared an illegal group, joined Palestinian terror group Hamas, the indictment said. He suggested that a bus stop or army base in the Negev desert would be a fitting target, and the attack was meant to be in the form of gunfire, stabbing or car-ramming.

In a separate offense, Omari was said to have hidden bomb components near his home in early 2016 and illegally possessed a rifle.

Firas al-Omari, an Arab Israeli man convicted of planning a terror attack against IDF soldiers. (Shin Bet)

After a plea deal, the Beersheba District Court convicted Omari of contacting a foreign agent, membership in a terror group, making purchases for terror purposes, aiding a terror group and conspiracy to help an enemy at a time of war.

Judge Natan Zlotchover on Sunday sentenced him to eight years in prison, a suspended sentence of one year, and a fine of NIS 10,000 ($2,700).

“The offenses of which the defendant was convicted are grave, harm the State of Israel’s security and undermine its very legitimacy,” Zlotchover wrote in his ruling, adding that the fact that Omari is an Israeli citizen increased the severity of the crimes.

Omari now has 45 days to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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