A lovesick ex-soldier who stood at a crossroads in central Israel and opened fire on a group of Palestinian workers was convicted of seven counts of murder and was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms.
Upon hearing the unprecedented sentence Sunday, Ami Popper, 22, began banging on a table at the Tel Aviv District Courthouse and shouting, "No, no, no."Guards removed Popper from the courtroom while his parents and relatives were screaming at the three judges who delivered the verdict. An ambulance was called to take the grandfather, who had a history of heart trouble, to a nearby hospital.
The court found Popper guilty of murder for the May 5, 1990, deaths of the seven Arab workers caught in the hail of gunfire at an intersection near the town of Rishon LeZion, a Tel Aviv suburb. Palestinians wait at the junction every day waiting for Israeli employers to hire them for construction and field work.
Popper, an ex-soldier who was wearing army-issue pants at the scene of the massacre, was also convicted of 10 counts of attempted murder in connection with other Palestinian workers who were injured but not killed.
"He sprayed bullets indiscriminately and even changed magazines in the middle," the three-judge panel told the raucous courtroom.
"We regard each victim as a separate act of murder and sentence the accused to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 20 years in jail to run concurrently because of the injured.
In May, Popper told police during his interrogation that he killed the Palestinians because he was distressed over being jilted by his girlfriend.