Two Palestinians sentenced to life, plus 30 years, for deadly Ariel attack last year

Youssef Sameeh Assi and Yahya Marei convicted of murder for shooting at settlement entrance that killed security guard Vyacheslav Golev

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

An undated photo of Vyacheslav Golev, a security guard who was killed in a terror attack at Ariel on April 29, 2022, and his fiancée, Victoria Fligelman. (Courtesy)
An undated photo of Vyacheslav Golev, a security guard who was killed in a terror attack at Ariel on April 29, 2022, and his fiancée, Victoria Fligelman. (Courtesy)

An Israeli military court on Wednesday sentenced two Palestinians to life in prison for carrying out a deadly shooting attack in the West Bank settlement of Ariel last year.

Vyacheslav Golev, 23, was gunned down inside a guard booth at a gate to the West Bank settlement on April 29, 2022, by Palestinian assailants Youssef Sameeh Assi and Yahya Marei.

Golev used his body to shield his fiancée, Victoria Fligelman, from the hail of bullets, saving her life. The couple both worked as security guards at the settlement and would regularly do their shifts together.

Assi and Marei were convicted of intentionally causing the death of Golev. The offense is equivalent to murder in West Bank military courts. They were also convicted of the attempted murder of Fligelman, along with weapons offenses and obstruction of justice.

The pair were sentenced to life plus 30 years in jail, and were also ordered to pay a total of NIS 3 million ($800,000) to the Golev and Fligelman families.

Fligelman had testified during the trial.

Yousef Sameeh Assi and Yahya Marei, arrested in the Palestinian town of Qarawat Bani Hassan on April 30, 2022, for a terror attack on April 29 at the entrance to the Ariel settlement in which security guard Vyacheslav Golev was killed. (Social media)

According to an indictment filed against the gunmen last year, Assi and Marei decided to carry out the attack after hearing reports of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

The two purchased weapons —  improvised Carlo submachine guns — and a vehicle to carry out the attack. The incitement said they decided on the Ariel entrance, on a weekend night, because “they thought it would be the best way they could carry out their plan and escape from the area.”

The two were arrested in their hometown of Qarawat Bani Hassan a day later, on April 30, 2022.

In late July 2022, the IDF demolished their homes. As a matter of policy, Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks. The efficacy of the policy is controversial within the Israeli security establishment, and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

A string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank has killed 20 people since the start of this year and left several more seriously hurt.

At least 112 West Bank Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year — most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians or were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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