East Jerusalem lawyer sentenced to 13.5 years in jail for shooting attacks

East Jerusalem lawyer sentenced to 13.5 years in jail for shooting attacks

Tarek Barghout convicted of carrying out several attacks against Israelis in West Bank alongside Palestinian former terror leader Zakaria Zubeidi

East Jerusalem-based lawyer Tarek Barghout. (Screenshot: Facebook)
East Jerusalem-based lawyer Tarek Barghout. (Screenshot: Facebook)

The Ofer Military Court on Tuesday sentenced an East Jerusalem lawyer to 13.5 years in jail over four shooting attacks against Israelis in the West Bank, Hebrew-language media reported.

Tarek Barghout, who has an Israeli ID card and belongs to Israel’s Bar Association but lives in Ramallah, committed some of the attacks together with Palestinian  former terrorist leader Zakaria Zubeidi, who is being charged with carrying out attacks against Israelis dating back over a decade.

Both Zubeidi and Barghout worked for the PA’s Prisoner Affairs Ministry.

All the terror attacks committed by Barghout ended without casualties or with Israelis suffering minor wounds from glass shards, the reports said.

Barghout signed a plea deal with prosecutors, which in a rare occurrence was reached during the initial stages of the investigation.

He began cooperating with his interrogators only after the deal’s principles were laid out. During his questioning, Barghout incriminated Zubeidi.

Both have been in custody since their arrest in late February in Ramallah. Both men were charged in the Samaria Military Court in May.

The Shin Bet security service has said Barghout and Zubeidi opened fire at an Israeli bus traveling outside the Psagot settlement last December, but failed to hit their target due to inclement weather.

According to the agency, the two had been planning to carry out another shooting attack on the night they were arrested. An M-16 assault rifle and magazines that the security service said were used in the attacks were found in their possession at the time of the arrest raid.

Terrorist leader Zakaria Zubeidi arrives for a court hearing at the Ofer military court, May 28, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Up until his arrest, Barghout worked on behalf of the Palestinian Authority representing terror suspects in both civilian courts in Israel and military courts in the West Bank.

Since Zubeidi is accused of many more attacks, including some that had previously been excused under an amnesty deal, the case against him was still ongoing. In May, the Samaria Military Court ordered that he be held behind bars until the legal proceeding against him were completed.

Zubeidi, a 43-year-old former commander for Fatah’s military wing, has been indicted on 24 counts for his role in a number of shooting and bombing attacks starting in 2003.

During the Second Intifada, which broke out in 2000, Zubeidi served as the commander in the Jenin region of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. He was also suspected of being one of the chief architects of several terror attacks during that time period.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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