The Lod District Court on Tuesday convicted Palestinians As'ad Alrafa'ani, 20, and Subhi Abu Shakir, 21, of the murder of four Israelis during an axe attack in the city of Elad on Independence Day last year.
The revised indictment was more severe than the original version, requesting that the convicts receive four consecutive life sentences for murder under terrorist circumstances, along with an additional 20-year sentence for other offenses.
The attackers, both from the West Bank Palestinian village of Rummanah near Jenin, were initially indicted in June 2022 on three murder charges, however, the pair were handed another murder charge after a fourth victim succumbed to his injuries nine months after the attack. The two also faced charges of terrorism and illegal entry to Israel.
According to the indictment, both men worked in Elad without permits for around six months. In August 2021, following the death of a friend in clashes with Israeli security forces, Abu Shakir decided to carry out a terror attack in Israel and "die as a martyr" in the process.
He reached out to Alrafa'ani, who initially refused to cooperate. However, as his religious beliefs strengthened and due to his belief that the Israeli government was harming Muslim worshipers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Alrafa'ani eventually decided to join forces with his friend and carry out the attack, killing Israeli Jews in the name of nationalist and ideological motives.
To that end, the two perpetrators equipped themselves with knives and axes. On Independence Day last year, May 5, 2022, they arrived in the city of Elad and fatally stabbed Oren Ben Yiftah, the driver who had given them a ride, before throwing his body out of the vehicle.
They then went on a killing spree on foot in the streets of the city, killing Boaz Gol and Yonatan Havakuk, and attempting to murder five more, some of whom were in front of their children.
The two fled the scene and were finally captured in a nearby forest at the end of a massive manhunt.
The indictment against the two was amended after Shimon Ma'atuf, a father of six and grandfather of thirteen who was working as a security guard at a nearby event, succumbed to his wounds in February.