JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli court on Thursday sentenced seven Arabs citizens to prison terms of eight months to two years for their part in the lynching of a soldier who went on a deadly shooting spree in 2005.
Eden Natan-Zada was a Jewish extremist who went AWOL from his military unit in 2005 before embarking of a shooting spree on a bus in a northern Arab town. He killed four Arabs before running out of ammunition. An angry mob then beat him to death.
A Haifa district court judge said that despite the soldier's actions, a democracy could not tolerate vigilante justice and rejected an "eye for an eye" defense. Following the verdict, Israeli Arabs hurled stones toward police in protest of what they called unjust punishment.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, a two-year-old girl was moderately wounded when she was struck in the head by a stone hurled toward the car in which she was traveling. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the attack appeared to be nationalistic in nature as Jewish vehicles are often targeted in the area by youths in nearby Arab villages.
The baby girl was taken to hospital, where Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on authorities to crack down on a recent wave of stone throwing attacks in the city. "It's about time we start treating a stone as a weapon," he told Israel's Channel 10 TV.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished the girl a speedy recovery. "We will find these criminals and bring them to justice," he said.