An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian to life in prison Monday for a shooting and stabbing attack on a Jerusalem bus that was one of the bloodiest incidents in wave of Arab terrorism that began in October.
Bilal Abu Ghanem was one of two terrorists who carried out the October 13 attack that killed two Israelis and a US-Israeli dual national.
The second attacker, Bahaa Allyan, was shot dead during the attack in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.
According to the court, Abu Ghanem, a resident of the east Jerusalem Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, opened fire on the bus with a pistol, shooting 14 rounds, while Allyan stabbed passengers.
The Jerusalem district court sentenced Abu Ghanem, 22, to three life sentences plus 60 years for murder and attempted murder, among other charges.
He was also ordered to pay 1.45 million shekels ($373,000/338,000 euros) in compensation to victims' families, including four people wounded and the bus driver.
When leaving the court, Abu Ghanem, who was imprisoned in 2013 for membership in the Islamist Hamas terrorist organization, lashed out and said the attack was in part meant as "revenge" for what he saw as "violations" against the Al Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, as the location of two ancient Jewish Temples, Islamists deny any Jewish connection to the site and see any Jewish presence there - even mere visits - as "violations" of the mosque built atop the temples' ruins.
The attack followed a series of clashes in September between rioting Muslim youths and Israeli police at the holy site.
"There are aggressions on our women and on our Al-Aqsa mosque," Abu Ghanem ranted as guards sought to hurry him past journalists. "Retaliation should be like that."
The bus attack was part of a wave of Arab terror that began in October and which has killed dozens of Israelis, two American citizens and an Eritrean national, while leaving hundreds more innocent Israelis wounded.
The violence has steadily declined in recent months, though attacks continue to occur, including the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old girl in her bed by a Palestinian terrorist, who broke into her home in Kiryat Arba on June 30. One day later, a father was shot dead in front of his family in a drive-by shooting by Arab terrorists not far from the site of the previous day's murder.
A sentencing hearing in another high-profile case was postponed until September 22 on Monday.
In that case, Ahmed Manasra, 14, has been convicted of the attempted murder of two Israelis in a knife attack in October.
He and his 15-year-old cousin stabbed and seriously wounded a 20-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy in the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev in Jerusalem.
AFP contributed to this report.