The Jerusalem District Court sentenced PFLP terrorist Hamdi Qur'an to life in prison and another 100 years jail time, for the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze'evi in 2001 and other terrorist offenses. Qur'an, 33, is from El-Bireh, north of Jerusalem.
Qur'an admitted that he received instructions to murder Ze'evi from Majdi Rimani, who was his superior in the PFLP, in early 2001. Two other terrorists took part on the operation: Ahed Rulama, who planned it, and Basel Asmar, who provided cover for the killer, Qur'an.
Aviv Dibon, IDF Spokesman
'A blow struck at a national symbol'
"The murder of a government minister is not just the murder of a man, but also a blow struck at a national symbol and a blow at its sovereignty," Judges Moshe Ravid, Orit Efal-Gabai and Aharon Farkash wrote in their verdict. They noted that Qur'an had voiced no regret but "brazenly made false statements to justify his deeds" and said that he would not hesitate to do them again in the future. "There can be no justification for these deeds," the judges wrote. They sentenced him to life in jail for the assassination.
Qur'an's conviction included additional terrorist-related offenses, for which he was sentenced to the additional 100 years in jail.
When Ze'evi came out of the elevator door Qur'an called out to him and then shot him in the head three times from close range.
Caught on Purim
Qur'an was caught by IDF forces in Jericho during the Jewish holiday of Purim in March, 2006, after he had been held by the PA. The IDF operation was called "Havaat Bikurim" (a reference to the mitzvah of bringing the year's first harvests to the Jewish Temple). He was brought to Israel for trial along with three other members of his cell, all of whom have already been sentenced.
In the course of 2001, the four-man cell placed car bombs and other explosive charges in Jerusalem. In September they were chosen to assassinate Minister Ze'evi in revenge for the killing of Abu Ali Mustafa, the PFLP's leader.
On October 16, they arrived at the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem, where they knew Ze'evi regularly stayed, and booked a room. After 6 A.M. Qur'an left the room and went down to the dining room, to make sure Ze'evi was there. He then went up to the eighth floor, where Ze'evi's room was, and waited for him together with Asmar. When Ze'evi came out of the elevator door Qur'an called out to him and then shot him in the head three times from close range. Ze'evi's wife found him a short time later and called the emergency services. At 10:00 Hadassah Hospital announced his death.