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Rishon Le-zion Killer Sentenced, Gets 7 Life Terms for 7 Deaths

March 18, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Ami Popper, a dishonorably discharged Israel Defense Force veteran who killed seven Arabs and wounded 10 in an unprovoked armed attack near Rishon le-Zion last May 20, received the maximum prison sentence Sunday.

Family members rioted in court for an hour after the district judge imposed seven cumulative life sentences for the premeditated murder of each victim, plus 20 years for the attempted murder of an unspecified number of others.

The dead and wounded were Palestinian day laborers from the Gaza Strip who had been waiting in a field outside Rishon le-Zion early on a Sunday morning to be picked up by Israeli employers when Popper opened fire on them.

According to the charges, Popper, wearing his brother’s IDF uniform, sprayed the workers with automatic fire from a Galil assault rifle.

The accused sat quietly until sentence was pronounced, when he began to pound the table with his fist. When he was ordered removed from the court, Popper’s grandfather began to rant against the judges until he nearly collapsed and was taken away in an ambulance.

Popper’s sister and other family members went into a frenzy. They cursed the judges and the prosecuting team, which was headed by an attorney who burst into tears.

The judges expressed horror at the cold-blooded murders. They said his act was “one of the most horrid, senseless crimes ever committed in Israel, contrary to all human behavior or Jewish values.”

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