Middle East

Palestinians jailed for life for killing Israeli couple

Naama and Eitam Henkin Image copyright Israeli foreign ministry
Image caption Naama and Eitam Henkin were killed in front of their four young children

An Israeli military court has sentenced four Palestinians to life in prison for the murder of an Israeli couple in the occupied West Bank, the military says.

Eitam and Naama Henkin were killed in front of their four young children in a drive-by shooting on 1 October.

The military said the assailants, members of the Islamist movement Hamas, opened fire at the Henkins' car after an attempt to abduct them failed.

The attack marked the start of a continuing wave of violence.

Since then, another 31 Israelis have been killed in knife, gun and car-ramming attacks in Israel and the West Bank.

More than 200 Palestinians - mostly attackers, Israel says - have also been killed in the same period.

The assailants who have been killed have been shot either by their victims or by security forces as they carried out attacks. Other Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

Image copyright IDF
Image caption The couple were killed as they drove near Nablus in the northern West Bank

Eitam and Naama Henkin were shot as they drove past the village of Beit Furik, on the road between the Jewish settlements of Itamar and Elon Moreh.

Their four children - a nine-month-old baby and boys aged four, seven and nine - were sitting in the back of the car and were treated for only light injuries.

A group affiliated with the Fatah movement's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed it was behind the attack.

However, Israeli investigators concluded that a Nablus-based cell affiliated with Hamas was responsible.

The alleged leader of the cell, named as Amjad Aliwi, and four other members - Yahya Haj Hamed, Samir Kusa, Kerem Razek and Zeid Amr - were arrested.

On Wednesday, the military court in the West Bank handed Aliwi, Haj Hamed, Kusa and Razek two life sentences plus an additional 30 years.

Amr has also reportedly been convicted of murdering the Henkins but has yet to be sentenced, while two others who allegedly helped plan the attack face trial.