Israeli Arabs indicted in murder of Israeli gunman


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli court indicted 12 Israeli Arabs in the death of a Jewish man who killed four on a bus in the Arab-Israeli town of Shfaran.

The Haifa District Court on Sunday charged seven Arabs with killing Eden Natan-Zada, a 19-year-old army deserter, in the summer of 2005. Five other Arab residents of Shfaran were indicted on lesser charges.

Natan-Zada opened fire on a bus, killing four and wounding 22, nearly all Arabs, two weeks before the Israeli pullout from Gaza in what was called a terrorist attack in opposition to the pullout. Natan-Zada was beaten to death by an Arab mob in the northern Israeli town after the attack, even though the police had already subdued him.   

"The prosecution believes that, despite Natan-Zada’s atrocious actions, the events that led to his death seriously harmed the rule of law," the prosecutors said Sunday in a statement. "In a country governed by laws, whoever takes the law into his own hands and harms someone, even if he committed despicable crimes, will be tried by law enforcement."

Israeli Arab lawmakers decried the indictments.

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