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Israeli ringleader gets life for burning Palestinian teenager alive Open in fullscreen

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Israeli ringleader gets life for burning Palestinian teenager alive

Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, was sentenced for killing 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 May, 2016

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A Jerusalem court has handed a life sentence to the main attacker in the brutal killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014.

An Israeli court on Tuesday handed down a life sentence to the ringleader of a Jewish gang that kidnapped, beat and burned alive a Palestinian teenager in 2014.

Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, was sentenced for killing 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and was also given 20 years for other crimes.

He was also told to pay 150,000 shekels ($39,000, 34,000 euros) to Abu Khdeir's family.

After the verdict was read out, angry members of Abu Khdeir's family cursed Ben-David as he was taken from court.

Ben-David, wearing a burgundy yarmulke and a black shirt, earlier told the court he was "sorry".

"I am sorry for the family. This is not me. I wasn't in control," he said.

Abu Khdeir was kidnapped by Ben-David and two young accomplices from east Jerusalem on July 2, 2014 and beaten.

His burned body was found hours later in a forest in the western part of the city.

A forensic report showed smoke in his lungs, indicating he had been alive when set alight.

Ben-David was found in November to have led the assault, but his lawyers submitted last-minute documents saying he suffered from mental illness.

A court rejected the appeal last month, finding him sane.

A court in February sentenced Ben-David's two Israeli accomplices to life and 21 years in prison for the killing, but he was seen to be the ringleader.

Abu Khdeir's father Hussein, speaking ahead of the verdict, said no punishment would be enough.

"Whatever they decide, our wounds will not heal, the boy will not come back," he said.

The brutal murder in 2014 shocked Israelis and Palestinians alike, and helped contribute to the escalation in violence that culminated in the 51-day Gaza war that summer in which more than 2,000 Palestinians and 73 Israelis died.

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