Thousands of protesters rallied in the northern Arab Israeli town of Shfaram Wednesday in support of local residents convicted in the killing a Jewish terrorist in 2005.
On Thursday, four men convicted of attempted manslaughter in the case will be sentenced by the Haifa District Court.
On August 4, 2005, in advance of the withdrawal from Gaza, an AWOL IDF soldier, Eden Natan Zada, opened fire on a public bus traveling through Shfaram, killing four Israeli Arabs – Michael Bachus, Nader Khaik and the sisters Hazar and Dina Turki – and wounding 22. After the attack, Zada was subdued and beaten to death by passengers and others in the area.
Zada killed his victims, the Haifa Municipal Court judges wrote, “simply because they were Arabs.”
After the killing spree, and with Zada handcuffed and in police custody on the bus, the crowd prevented Israeli police from removing Zada and pummeled him for an hour, until long after he was dead, police said. Later, as part of a massive investigation, 12 Shfaram residents were arrested.
Seven of them were put on trial and charged with attempted murder, attempted manslaughter, aggravated assault on a police officer, interference with an officer performing his duty, and rioting.
All seven defendants were acquitted of attempted murder charges. Four of the suspects were found guilty of attempted manslaughter, two were convicted of aggravated assault and one defendant was acquitted of all charges.
The Northern District Prosecutor’s Office requested a 6- to 9-year prison sentence for the four, according to Ynet.