Israel decision to revoke attacker's citizenship condemned

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Israel changed the law in 2008 to make it easier to revoke attackers' citizenship

Human rights groups have criticised a decision by an Israeli court to remove the citizenship of an Israeli Arab who attacked people with a car and a knife.

It is thought to be the first time a judge has implemented a 2008 law under which perpetrators of "terrorist activities" can lose their citizenship.

Alla Zayoud, from northern Israel, was convicted of four counts of attempted murder for the attack in October 2015.

Israeli civil rights groups said the ruling set "a dangerous precedent".

In his decision, Judge Avraham Elyakim of Haifa district court said victims' right to life took precedence over "those who choose to violate the trust of the state of Israel and carry out acts of terrorism in its territory".

Interior Minister Arieh Deri had filed the request to revoke Zayoud's citizenship in 2016. Zayoud has the right to appeal.

Zayoud, who comes from the town of Umm al-Fahm, is serving a 25-year sentence for the attack in which he drove his car into a group of soldiers and then started stabbing people.

It was one of the first such incidents in what has become a wave of so-called "lone wolf" attacks on Israelis predominantly by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October 2015.

The court's ruling was condemned by rights groups.

"The decision to revoke Mr Zayoud's residence would render him stateless, in violation of Israel's obligations under international human rights law," said Sari Bashi of Human Rights watch.

"Citizenship is a precondition for a host of other rights, including the right to political participation and social and economic rights."

The removal of citizenship for terrorism had been applied by Israel in rare instances prior to the 2008 law but the latest case could pave the way for similar rulings in the future, local media said.

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