JERUSALEM - A Jerusalem court on Wednesday convicted three Israeli settlers for attempting to blow up an Arab girls' school in Jerusalem last year to avenge Palestinian attacks against Jews.
Shlomo Dvir, Yarden Morag and Ofer Gamliel, all from the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, were convicted of attempted murder and illegal weapons possession in connection with the failed attack in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of A-Tur in April 2002. Sentences will be passed at a later date.
The convictions come against the background of mounting concern over the emergence of a new Jewish ''underground,'' reminiscent of settler vigilantes who attacked Palestinians in the mid-1980s.
The court found that Dvir and Morag parked an explosives-laden trailer outside the main entrance to the school before dawn and set a timer for 7:25 a.m., just as students would be arriving. The attack was aborted when a passing police cruiser became suspicious of the men and found the trailer contained two bricks of explosives, cooking gas canisters, a clock, battery, detonator and fuse.
Gamliel was found to have helped plan the attack.
The judges rejected the defendants' claim that the explosive device was for demonstration purposes only, and there was no intention of harming students at the school...