The Jerusalem District Court on Thursday sentenced two suspects in the murder of Kristine Luken, an American tourist who was stabbed to death in the Jerusalem hills, to a total of three life terms.
The first defendant, Kifah Ghanimat, was given two life sentences, and an additional sixty years in prison. The second, Ibrahim Ghanimat, was given one life sentence and an additional sixteen years in prison.
The former is considered to be the head of a Palestinian cell that was linked to the murders. Ghanimat was given two life sentences because he was also convicted of an additional murder of 53-year-old Netta Blatt-Sorek, a resident of Zichron Ya’akov, which took place a year ago.
He was also convicted of a series of other crimes, including theft of weapons, selling weapons, four counts of attempted murder and rape.
On sentencing the defendant, Judge Yaakov Tzaban said “his actions are harsh and cruel, with no extenuating circumstances whatsoever.”
In January this year, Jerusalem District Police released details regarding its investigation into the cell of Palestinian militants suspected of being behind the stabbing of Kristine Luken and her friend in the Jerusalem hills in December 2010. Luken’s friend, Kaye Wilson, managed to flee the attackers with serious wounds.
Police also believed the same cell carried out the murder of 53-year-old Netta Blatt-Sorek, a resident of Zichron Ya’akov, whose body was found last year near the Jerusalem-area monastery of Beit Jamal.
The cell was also suspected in 19 other security incidents since 1997.