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Israeli Man Gets Life Sentence for Palestinian Teen’s 2014 Killing

JERUSALEM — A Jerusalem court on Tuesday handed a life sentence to the main attacker in the killing of a Palestinian teenager in 2014 whose death helped spark a chain of events that led to that year's Gaza war.

The court sentenced Yosef Haim Ben David, 30, to life plus 20 years. The state prosecutor said the damage he caused Israel and the family of the Palestinian teen is "irreparable."

Image: ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT-COURT
Israeli Yosef Haim Ben-David (center) the ringleader of the killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir last year, is escorted by Israeli policemen at the district court in Jerusalem on March 22, 2016, prior to hearing his psychiatric evaluation. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP - Getty Images

Ben David and two accomplices abducted 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in his east Jerusalem neighborhood, drove to a forest and burned him to death. They said the abduction was revenge for the killing of three abducted Israeli teens by Palestinians earlier that summer.

The killing was widely condemned in Israel, but fueled violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.

Related: Slain Palestinian Boy Burned to Death, Autopsy Finds

Ben David expressed remorse in the courtroom. After the sentencing, the Abu Khdeir family yelled slurs at him. Hussein Abu Khdeir, father of the murdered teen, said he wants to "see him die in prison."

The 50-day Gaza war in 2014 killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, about a third of them civilians. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and seven civilians were killed.

Image: Mohammed Abu Khdeir is seen in this undated family handout picture
Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, is seen in this undated family handout picture released July 6, 2014. Khdeir family via Reuters

Gaza has been mostly calm since then, but Israel said earlier on Tuesday that customs officials thwarted a plot to smuggle explosive materials into the Hamas-run territory.

Israel's Tax Authority said inspectors uncovered four tons of ammonium chloride— enough to produce hundreds of rockets— hidden inside sacks of salt about two weeks ago as the shipment was being transferred to Gaza. Militants in Gaza have fired thousands of rockets at Israel over the years.

Related: Three Israelis Admit to Killing Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir: Cops

"This case underscores the activity of Gaza-based terrorist organizations in smuggling dual-use materials disguised as goods destined for the civilian population and reconstruction projects," the Tax Authority said.

Along with explosives, ammonium chloride can be used in fertilizer and other products.

FROM JULY 7, 2014: 'I'm Blown Away': Beaten Teen Mourns Dead Cousin 3:00

Israel's Shin Bet security service became suspicious after unusually large quantities of salt were ordered by a Gaza importer with ties to the Islamic militant group Hamas, the tax authority said.

Since mid-September, Palestinians have carried out dozens of assaults on civilians and security forces, killing 28 Israelis and two Americans. Some 200 Palestinians have been killed over the same period, the vast majority of whom Israel says were carrying out attacks or planning them.