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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Settlers guilty of school bomb plot
Yarden Morag (left) and Shlomo Dvir
The settlers said they wanted to avenge the killing of Jews
Three Jewish settlers have been convicted by a court in Jerusalem of attempted murder after a failed plot to blow up an Arab girls' school in the city.

The men, from the settlement of Bat Ayin, parked a trailer packed with explosives outside the building in April last year but the plot was thwarted by police.

The settlers said they wanted to take revenge for the killing of Jews by Palestinians.

The three - Shlomo Dvir, Yarden Morag and Ofer Gamliel - will be sentenced at a later date.

'Mass killing'

The court heard how the settlers packed the trailer with explosives, cooking gas canisters, a clock, a battery, a detonator and a fuse.

It's better than being blown up at a bus stop
Shlomo Dvir, convicted settler
Dvir and Morag parked the trailer outside the entrance to the school in A-Tur district, and set the timer for 0725, just as students would be arriving for classes.

Gamliel helped plan the attack.

The plot was foiled when police happened to see the men acting suspiciously and checked inside the trailer.

The judge said the men planned to carry out what it called a "mass killing".

'We're sorry'

Following the verdict, Morag and Dvir expressed regret for their actions.

"We're sorry," Dvir said.

"We'll serve our time in jail. It's no big deal. Anyway, it's better than being blown up at a bus stop," he told reporters, referring to Palestinian suicide attacks.

There have been a number of attacks on Palestinians by Jewish militants since the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada (uprising) in September, 2000.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says up to 15 Palestinians have been killed by Jewish militants over the past three years, while Israeli officials put the number at about six.

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