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Fatah leader sentenced to 5 life terms

Israeli court convicted Marwan Barghouti in fatal attacks

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Marwan Barghouti
West Bank

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An Israeli court sentenced Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti on Sunday to five consecutive life terms and an additional 40 years in prison for his role in attacks that killed five people since 2001, a court spokeswoman said.

Israel convicted him last month on charges stemming from three shooting attacks, but failed to gain a conviction in 33 other charges.

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority said it didn't recognize the jurisdiction of the Israeli court in the Barghouti case, and called its decision "illegal and void."

Barghouti also has refused to recognize the Israeli court, which he calls "a court of occupation."

The Israelis once considered Barghouti a possible replacement for Arafat, but now accuse him of heading several militant organizations in the West Bank and taking orders from him.

Barghouti's trial, held in Tel Aviv, began in August 2003. He was convicted on three counts of murder in the three shooting incidents -- a 2001 attack that killed a Greek orthodox monk, a 2002 attack at Givat Zeev that killed an Israeli and the Tel Aviv Seafood Market last year that killed three people.

In addition to the five life terms on the murder convictions, Barghouti was sentenced to 20 years for a count of attempted murder for a bomb that exploded prematurely and another 20 years for membership in a terror organization.

Fatah is the mainstream faction and Palestinian nationalist movement of the Palestine Liberation Organization and is dedicated to the formation of an independent Palestinian state.

The mainstream Fatah acts as the political organization of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

A military offshoot of Fatah, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, has carried out numerous attacks against military targets and civilians in Israel and in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. In March 2002, the U.S. State Department designated it a foreign terrorist organization.

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