A Palestinian terrorist who stabbed two Israelis to death in Tel Aviv last year was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and an additional 20 years.
Raed Khalil, also known as Raed Masalmeh, was sentenced on Monday in the Tel Aviv District Court after his conviction in July for the murders of Reuven Aviram, 51, and Aharon Yesiav, 32, and the attempted murder of three others during his terror spree.
He was given a life sentence for each murder and another 20 years in jail for the three counts of attempted murder.
He confessed to the attacks, which took place in a synagogue in the Panorama south Tel Aviv office building on November 19, 2015.
The court found that Khalil, 37, took a nine-inch knife from a restaurant where he worked in Tel Aviv and went to the second floor of the Panorama building. Seeing Aviram and another dozen men who’d gathered for the Jewish afternoon prayer, he stabbed him multiple times.
Aviram managed to flee and shout “terrorist” before collapsing.
Khalil then stabbed Yesiav nine times in the torso.
The worshipers quickly closed the door to the synagogue and struggled with Khalil for a few minutes as he tried to force entry.
Fleeing, Khalil tried to stab at least three other people and was eventually caught by passersby and arrested by police at the scene.
The attack came in midst of a months-long spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis that left dozens of people dead.
Khalil had told investigators he was driven to carry out the attack for nationalistic reasons and said he wanted to die as a martyr. During a December court hearing in which he reenacted his crime, he expressed regret for his actions and cried.
Khalil, who is older than many of the Palestinian terrorists involved in last years surge of stabbing attacks, is also unusual in that he had a work permit allowing him to be in Israel. His wife had also recently given birth to twins, their fourth and fifth children.
In a statement to the court before sentencing Khalil referenced the Dawabshe family, three of whose members were killed in July 2015 in an arson attack attributed to Jewish extremists. “You are killing us. Why do you kill us?” Khalil asked the court. “This is all I have to say.”
Also on Monday, Tamer Younis Ahmed Vareidat was sentenced by the Lod District court to 16 and a half years’ imprisonment for attempted murder of a 25-year old man outside of a Petah Tikva Mall last October.
Vareidat, from the town of Daheira, near Hebron, was also given a suspended sentence and is to pay NIS 100,000 ($26,000) in damages to the victim’s family.
The stabber, now 26 was found guilty last March after admitting guilt in an attack that took place in central Petah Tikva, next to a busy shopping mall and across the street from the city’s Beilinson Hospital.