Israel sentences 4 Palestinians to life

Settler couple lived on forcefully stolen, illegally occupied Palestinian land

RAMALLAH - Four Palestinians were on Wednesday handed life sentences for the killing of an Israeli couple as they drove in the illegally occupied West Bank with their children last year, the army said.
"The military court handed two life sentences and another 30 years to each of the four members of the Hamas cell that carried out the attack in which Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered in front of their children," a statement read.
The Palestinian assailants were named as Yahya Haj Hamed, Amjad Aliwi, Samir Kusa and Kerem Razek.
The October 1 attack on the couple, who lived in an illegal Jewish settlement on occupied Palestinian land, marked the beginning of a wave of Palestinian attacks.
The violence has since killed at least 209 Palestinians, 32 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.
Israeli authorities say most of the Palestinians were killed as they carried out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.
Others were killed in clashes with occupying forces or by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
According to the army statement, the assailants had planned on apprehending the Henkin couple, but when their attempts to do so failed, they shot them from close range in front of their four children.
Three of the four Palestinians sentenced were also involved in two previous shooting attacks on Israelis which lightly wounded one, the army said.
Another three Palestinians involved in the Henkin attack were still facing sentencing.
Days after the October attack, which shocked Israeli society, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a package of new measures against Palestinian assailants.
They included swifter demolitions of their family homes, which Netanyahu said was "one of the most efficient tools" in discouraging Palestinian attacks, but which rights groups have condemned as further collective punishment of Palestinians by Israel.
The homes of three of the four Palestinians sentenced on Wednesday had been demolished in November.
Last month, Israeli forces demolished the Nablus family home of Zeid Amr, accused of staking out the site of the attack before other members of the Hamas cell shot the Henkins.