Hamas leader sentenced to 54 life sentences
An Israeli military court in the West Bank Sunday sentenced a senior Hamas leader to 54 times life in prison, a military statement said.
The court at the Ofer military base near Ramallah convicted Ibrahim Hamed last week, declaring him responsible for a string of suicide bombings in Israel, launched by the radical Islamist movement from the West Bank in the early 2000s, at the height of the second Palestinian uprising, dpa reported.
Hamed, arrested by Israel six years ago, served as the West Bank commander of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing.
Among others, he was found responsible for a 2003 suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Cafe Hillel, which killed seven; a 2002 attack in the city's Cafe Moment, which killed 11; and one in Jerusalem's central Zion Square in 2001, which killed 10 people.
Forty-six people were killed in the attacks for which the Qassam Brigades under his leadership claimed responsibility. Hamed received one life sentence for each fatality, plus eight more for another eight counts of accessory to and attempted murder.
Hamas' armed wing in a statement on its website called the sentence nothing but "ink on paper" and resistance against occupation "legitimate under any religion or custom." It confirmed Hamed had "fought the occupation forces" from 1998 until his arrest in 2006 and was behind many "martyrdom operations."
It also reiterated that it did not recognize the Israeli military court's legitimacy.