Palestinian sentenced to life, plus 50 years, for deadly 2018 West Bank car ramming

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An Israeli military court on Monday sentenced a Palestinian man to life in prison for ramming his car into a group of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank in 2018, killing two.

Ala Qabha carried out the attack on March 16, 2018, outside a military post in the northern West Bank, near the Mevo Dotan settlement, killing Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, and Capt. Ziv Daos, and seriously wounding two other soldiers. Qabha was detained nearby.

The following day, the Shin Bet security agency said Qabha had confessed to carrying out the attack. It said Qabha had initially claimed the incident was an accident, but later changed his story and said it was deliberate and that he intended to murder soldiers.

The security agency said at the time it appeared he had acted alone, and possibly spontaneously.

Footage from the scene showed Qabha driving past the soldiers, then making a U-turn and accelerating into them, at a speed of around 70 kilometers per hour, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Qabha was convicted in July 2022 of two counts of “intentionally causing death” — the equivalent of murder under military law — and two counts of attempting to intentionally cause death.

Israeli soldiers inspect a car at the scene where two Israeli soldiers were killed and another two were injured in a car-ramming terror attack near Mevo Dotan, in the West Bank, March 16, 2018. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

After a hearing on September 11, 2022, the military court on Monday announced it was sentencing Qabha to life plus 50 years in jail, and ordered him to pay NIS 3 million ($830,000) to the families of the slain and wounded soldiers in the attack.

The court had accepted the demands of military prosecutors, the IDF said.

The IDF said that Kahalani’s and Daos’s families were updated on the sentencing.

Daos, 21, from the central town of Azor, was a platoon commander in a Home Front Command search and rescue unit. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain.

Ala Qabha, convicted of a deadly March 2018 car-ramming. (Courtesy)

Kahalani, 20, from Elyakim in northern Israel, served as a driver in the Menashe Regional Brigade. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Qabha’s apartment in the northern West Bank town of Barta’a was demolished by the military several months after the attack.

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