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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Netanya bomb mastermind convicted
Wreckage of the Netanya bombing
Most of those killed in the Passover meal bombing were elderly
An Israeli court has convicted a Palestinian man of masterminding a 2002 suicide bombing during a Passover meal in Netanya that left 29 people dead.

The attack planned by Abbas Sayad, a Hamas leader, was the single deadliest of the five-year Palestinian uprising.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces demolished and evacuated a military base near Jenin in the northern West Bank.

The troop re-deployments follow the dismantling of four small settlements in the area.

After the troops left the ruined base, crowds of Palestinians rushed in to celebrate.

Reports said at least two people were shot in the legs by Palestinian security forces trying to prevent ransacking.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian who entered the base.

The Israeli army said the man - who was unarmed - ignored warnings to stop.

Palestinian security officials said the man believed the site had already been evacuated by the Israelis.

Claimed by Hamas

In the attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya, the bomber blew himself up in the hotel's packed dining room on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday.

The court in Tel Aviv ruled that Sayad had initiated and planned the blast in the northern seaside resort, which killed 29 and left scores injured.

Sayad, head of Hamas' military wing in the West Bank town of Tulkarm, was also found guilty of five murder charges over the bombing of a shopping centre in the northern coastal town of Netanya in 2001.

In 2003, four Palestinians were sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in the Park Hotel attack.

They and the bomber, Abdel Basset Odeh, were all members of Hamas, which claimed the bombing.


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