Bilal Abu Ghanem was convicted of carrying out an attack last October in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem in which three Israelis were killed by the Jerusalem District Court Monday.
The terrorist, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, was convicted the three murders, seven attempted murders, and aiding the enemy during the war.
The conviction was handed down after the court rejected a plea bargain agreed upon between the prosecution and the defense, since Abu Ghanem refused to stand before the court and admit to his crimes. State Prosecutor Uri Korb demanded that Abu Ghanem be given three consecutive life sentences and an additional 70 years for the attempeted murders.
In response, the defense team stated that they would not be opposed to the submission of evidence to the court, which include Abu Ghanem's confessions to the police of carrying out the attack, that they would not conduct a cross-examination and that Abu Ghanem would not testify. However, they also stated that it is their position that there is nothing in the evidence that would convict Abu Ghanem of aiding the enemy during a war, contrary to the conclusion of the plea bargain.
"The defendant argued with me about the bus transfer. He argued with me about 5.90 shekels, and he had a gun in his belt. I can't get it out of my head," testified Yisrael Zaken, the driver of the attacked bus. "Then I began to hear shots on the bus. The doors opened and after a half minute they automatically locked, and some of the passengers on the bus were trapped inside the bus. This is also something that has left a scar."
Abu Ghanem and Baha Alyan got on the number 78 bus last October 13, and opened fire on the passengers, as well as stabbing several of them. The three Jews killed in the attack were Richard Lakin, 76, Alon Andrei Govberg, 51, and Haviv Haim, 78. Seven passengers were wounded..
Even after they ran out of ammunition and the blade of their knife broke, they went on to strangle passengers until Border Police arrived at the scene.