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Four Palestinians receive life sentences for murder of Israeli couple

The four men have been sentenced for murdering a couple in front of their children, the army said. Tensions have risen between Israelis and Palestinians, prompting the government to bolster security.

An Israeli military court on Wednesday handed four Palestinians life sentences for the murder of an Israeli couple in October 2015.

"The military court in Samaria handed two life sentences and another 30 years to each of the four members of the Hamas cell that carried out the attack in which Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered in front of their children," said a statement from the Israeli army.

The court named the assailants as Yahya Ahmed, Amjad Aliwi, Samir Kusa and Kerem Razek.

Three of the four men sentenced on Wednesday were involved in two previous shootings involving Israelis. At least three others involved in October attack are still awaiting sentencing.

Tensions have risen in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories with over 200 Palestinians and 32 Israelis killed since last year.

The death toll includes many Palestinians attempting to carry out knife or car-ramming attacks against Israelis, but also comprises Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli woman mourns at the grave of Israeli couple, Eitam and Naama Henkin, at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem

An Israeli woman mourns at the grave of Israeli couple, Eitam and Naama Henkin, at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem

In September, Israel's security cabinet agreed on a series of measures that would increase criminal penalties against stone throwers and petrol bombers in a bid to curb a spate of attacks.

"The security cabinet has decided to authorize police to use live ammunition against people throwing stones and Molotov cocktails when the life of a third person is threatened and no longer only when the police officer is threatened," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a in statement last year.

The Israeli premier is expected to meet with US State Secretary John Kerry next week. France has attempted to re-launch peace talks in a bid to end the decades-long conflict.

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Israel's Naftali Bennett | Conflict Zone

ls/kl (AFP, AP)

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