A Gaza-born Canadian citizen pleaded guilty yesterday to planning attacks on Israelis in North America and was sentenced by a military court to four years in prison, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Jamal Akkal, 24, was arrested in Gaza on November 1, 2003, and charged by the military with conspiracy to commit manslaughter. Prosecutors said Akkal planned to carry out attacks against Israeli officials traveling in the United States, as well as bombings against Jewish targets in North America.
Akkal had denied the charges, claiming a confession he gave was made under duress.
Under yesterday's plea bargain, Akkal was found guilty of conspiracy to commit manslaughter and receiving paramilitary training, the army said. He was credited with time served since his arrest, and a second charge of receiving paramilitary training was dropped. Akkal, who was also fined NIS 2,000, had faced up to 21 years in prison, the army said.
Akkal was born and raised in the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza and moved to Canada in 1999, where he received citizenship. He was arrested in Gaza after he fired eight shots in the air, his lawyer said.
During the trial, Akkal claimed he had gone to Gaza to get engaged. The army said he had met with militants from Hamas, received weapons training and planned attacks.
According to the indictment, Akkal was to buy an M-16 rifle in Detroit and bomb materials to carry out the attacks in cities where many Jews live.
His handlers also allegedly told Akkal to raise money in mosques in North America, ostensibly to help families of Palestinian suicide bombers but actually to fund Akkal's militant activity, the army charged.
Israel denied Canadian media reports that Akkal had been abused during interrogation. Akkal had said Hamas approached him to carry out attacks in North America, but never agreed.
No Virgins - No Terror !�