Terrorist behind two deadly 2018 shootings convicted of triple murder
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Terrorist behind two deadly 2018 shootings convicted of triple murder

Asem Barghouti found guilty of December attacks that killed two soldiers and the baby born prematurely to a female victim, and injured nine others

Asem (L) and Salih (R) Barghouti at a rally in Kobar after the former was released from Israeli prison in April 2018 (screenshot: Twitter)
Asem (L) and Salih (R) Barghouti at a rally in Kobar after the former was released from Israeli prison in April 2018 (screenshot: Twitter)

Palestinian Asem Barghouti was convicted Thursday of three murder counts over a pair of December 2018 terror attacks that led to the deaths of two soldiers and an unborn baby.

The Ofer Military Court issued the ruling after Barghouti confessed to the charges. He was also convicted of 12 counts of attempted murder, obstruction of justice and membership in a banned association.

Barghouti was arrested in January and accused of carrying out a shooting attack on a bus stop near the outpost of Givat Assaf on December 13 and of collaborating with his brother Salih in an earlier shooting attack on a bus stop near the Ofra settlement on December 9.

Two soldiers, Sgt. Yosef Cohen and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, were killed in the Givat Assaf attack. Another soldier, Israeli-American Netanel Felber, was seriously injured and Shira Sabag, a civilian woman, was also hurt in the shooting.

A photo composite shows Sgt. Yosef Cohen, left, and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef of the IDF’s Kfir Brigade. The two were killed on December 13, 2018, in a terrorist shooting attack outside the Givat Assaf settlement outpost in the central West Bank. (Israel Defense Forces)

Seven people were injured in the Ofra attack, including a woman seven months pregnant who was seriously wounded. Doctors delivered her baby boy in an emergency operation, but he died days later despite intensive efforts to save him.

Asem Barghouti’s brother Salih was killed by Israeli troops during an attempted arrest on December 12. Barghouti’s arrest followed a nearly month-long manhunt.

Barghouti was indicted at the Judea Military Court in the West Bank in March 2019. The charge sheet said he had initiated and planned the attacks, offering his brother to join him as a driver on the day of the December 9 shooting. The two carried out the shooting in Ofra and later rid themselves of the evidence, including the vehicle, the clothes they wore and the weapons they used.

When his brother was killed, Barghouti fled and decided to carry out a second attack and “martyr” himself, and then went on to carry out the December 13 deadly shooting at Givat Assaf. After shooting the four victims, he once again managed to flee, and remained in hiding for about a month, until he was tracked down in the village of Abu Shukheidim. near Ramallah, and arrested on January 8, 2019.

In this undated photograph, Israeli troops search for the terrorists who committed a shooting attack on a bus stop outside the Ofra settlement in the West Bank, near Ramallah, in which seven Israelis were injured, including a pregnant woman, on December 9, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

The brothers’ two homes in the West Bank village of Kobar were razed in March and April.

Barghouti will be sentenced at a later date.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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