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Palestinian behind killings that sparked Gaza war sentenced

Published:Wednesday | January 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM
In this August 24, 2014 file photo, Palestinians inspect the damage of a commercial shopping center after an Israeli strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. - File


An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian to life in prison after convicting him of masterminding the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers, which sparked a chain of events that led to last summer's Gaza war.

The court handed Hussam Qawasmeh three life sentences, one for each teen, yesterday.

Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, were abducted and killed in June while hitchhiking home in the West Bank.

Israel launched an extensive search operation and arrested hundreds of Hamas members in the West Bank. Hamas stepped up rocket fire on southern Israel, prompting a military response that escalated into a 50-day war.

More than 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis were killed.