Palestinian rocket engineer given to 21 years' jail

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian engineer on Tuesday to 21 years in prison for helping Gaza's Hamas militant group develop and improve their weapons capabilities.

Dirar Abu Sisi, detained by Israel in 2011, was a director of the Gaza Strip's sole power station. He said he was kidnapped during a visit to Ukraine in February and transferred secretly to Israel.

In a plea-bargain agreement that sealed a court case lasting over four years, Abu Sisi pleaded guilty to five counts which included membership of a militant organization and building and modifying missiles used against Israel.

"The accused has been found guilty of offences carried out over a number of years against state security that include five specific accusations carried out by him," part of the ruling by a three-judge panel at Beersheba District Court said.

Abu Sisi originally denied wrongdoing and Hamas had said he was not a member of their organization but in the amended indictment which led to the plea bargain and the conviction, he admitted the charges.

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