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Palestinian Militia Leader Receives 14 Life Sentences

An Israeli court has sentenced a Palestinian militia leader to 14 life terms in jail plus 50 years for masterminding attacks that killed 14 Israelis.

Nasser Awais, 33, is the most senior Palestinian to be convicted by an Israeli civil court since the current round of violence began in September 2000. He was the military commander and co-founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.

Mr. Awais was convicted in a Tel Aviv Court of having initiated, planned, organized and financed a series of terrorist operations.

He is held responsible for deadly attacks against a restaurant in Tel Aviv, as well as two attacks on cities in northern Israel, one at a wedding hall in Hadera and the other at a hotel in Netanya. Fourteen people were killed in the attacks.

Prosecutors described him as being the deputy of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is currently on trial for allegedly orchestrating violent attacks against Israelis.

Following his sentencing, Mr. Awais expressed no regrets, telling reporters in Hebrew that Palestinians needed to take certain actions to end Israeli military occupation.