The Haifa District Court sentenced an Israeli Arab resident, identified as Jamal Mahajna, for ten years in prison after convicting him of driving a Palestinian female suicide bomber to Haifa.

Mahajna, 49, a resident of Um Al Fahim, north of Israel, was found guilty of causing death “by negligence”, and of illegally transferring individuals in Israel.   

The court ruled that Mahajna drove Hanadi Jaradat to the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in October 2003; Jaradat blew herself killing 21 people, and wounding dozens according to Israeli sources. 

The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Mahajna admitted to picking up Jaradat in Barata village, in Wadi Ara area. “Both agreed that Mohammad would drive her to Rambam hospital in Haifa, where she claimed her father was hospitalized”, Haaretz reported.

The father of Jaradat suffers cancer, but he was not allowed into Israel for medical treatment.

According to the Israeli prosecution, Jaradat inquired during the course of the drive about their location, and when the driver told her that they are near Hadera, she told him that she wants to get off at the Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center.

The Israeli security predicts that Jaradat wanted to carry the bombing out at the Hadera medical center after seeing the security arrangements there, and claimed that she received a message on her mobile informing her that her father was moved to the Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center.

Also, according to the verdict, when they approached southern Haifa, Jaradat asked to stop and eat at a restaurant. The driver stopped at Maxim restaurant, where they both dined there; after they finished Mahajna exited the restaurant and Jardat blew herself up.

“Mahajna fled the scene, without trying to assist anyone, deleted his call lists, and burnt his clothes”, Israeli prosecution said.

Also, the prosecution said that Jaradat has raised the suspicion of Mahajna, since she was tense and nervous, and that her request to stop at the restaurant seemed strange because she claimed earlier that she was rushing to see her sick father, and that she barely ate despite claiming that she was hungry. 

Meanwhile, Mahajna said that he had no idea she was a suicide bomber, and admitted that he drove her illegally into Israel.

Adel Boirat, the attorney of Mahajna, said that his client had no idea that Jaradat intended to blow herself up, and added that the claim of the prosecution that he should have noticed she was planning an attack  is inaccurate.

“If he knew, he wouldn’t have entered the restaurant with her, he was almost killed in the bombing”, the lawyer said, “he was in shock after the bombing, fled the scene and burnt his clothes because of that”.