Palestinian guilty in email death-trap case

A Palestinian woman has been found guilty in a remarkable case that illustrates the increasing use of the Internet in political struggles
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor on

A Palestinian woman was found guilty on Sunday for the voluntary manslaughter of a 16-year-old Israeli schoolboy that she met on the Internet. The plot was part of an online strategy to publicise the Palestinian cause.

Ophir Rahum, a 16-year-old computer enthusiast met 24-year-old "Sally", a "Moroccan Jew", in an Internet chatroom in October. After exchanging affectionate emails for three months, the Jewish boy was lured from his home near Tel Aviv into meeting the woman for sex.

"Sally" was not Jewish, but in fact a Palestinian photographer, Mona Amna, who had set out to entice an Israeli boy to the West Bank, in order to revenge the murders of Palestinian militants during the intifada, or uprising.

The court heard how Rahum travelled to Jerusalem on 17 January to meet Amna, where she collected him in a taxi from the coach station. A few minutes after they had transferred to a car with Israeli number plates, an accomplice killed Ophir with two bursts of automatic fire from a Kalashnikov machine gun.

Amna had originally denied all knowledge of the incident, but confessed after she was confronted with the evidence of her email exchanges.

In recent months, UK courts have witnessed a flurry of Net paedophile cases where men have used chatrooms to "groom" children for the purposes of having sex, but there is little evidence to date of women luring children into offline meetings for political purposes.

Last week, a British judge called for greater controls on Internet content after sentencing an Oxford scholar to five years imprisonment for a the rape of a 14-year-old boy that he met in a gay chatroom. The Home Office recently set up an Internet task force charged with the specific responsibility of implementing measures to protect children online.

What are the risks of paedophiles approaching children through Yahoo! Messenger chatrooms? Find out the details of ZDNet News' investigation in the Chatroom Danger Special Report

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