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Gush Emunim Leader Charged with Shooting Death of Arab

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Rabbi Moshe Levinger, a leader of the militant Gush Emunim settlers group, was charged Tuesday with the killing last fall of an Arab resident of Hebron.

Levinger was charged in the Jerusalem district court Wednesday with manslaughter, sabotage and intentionally causing damage to property. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.

Levinger is the leader of a group of Jews who have settled in the middle of the heavily Arab city of Hebron. The incident in question occurred Sept. 30, as Levinger and his family were driving through Hebron on their way to Jerusalem.

As the car entered the center of town, a rock was thrown at the vehicle, smashing its windshield. The driver, Levinger’s son, continued driving until they reached an army checkpoint. There they reported the incident to the soldiers and asked them to call for reinforcements.

While waiting for the reinforcements to arrive, Palestinian youths began stoning the checkpoint. The indictment charges that Levinger responded by drawing his Baretta gun and shooting two to three bullets in the air.

After shooting in the air, Levinger allegedly started walking down the street and began shooting toward shops and street stands full of customers.

He hit Kayed Salah, 42, a shoe store owner who at the time of the incident was standing outside his shop showing shoes to a potential customer, Ibrahim Ball, who was also wounded, Salah later died of his wounds.

The indictment, based on testimony taken from 39 eyewitnesses to the incident, also alleges that after shooting Salah and Bali, Levinger overturned street stands, throwing products on the floor, cursing the Arabs and ordering them to close their shops immediately.

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