Hugs, tears and the haunted face of a 12-year-old girl broken by jail: The moment the youngest Palestinian to be imprisoned by Israel is freed after being locked up for two months for carrying a knife near a Jewish settlement
She pleaded guilty to attempted murder having been arrested with a knife
Following a plea agreement, Dima was today returned to Palestine territory
She is believed to have been the youngest jailed Palestinian in Israel
Israel has released a 12-year-old Palestinian girl who had been jailed after she was arrested near an Jewish settlement armed with a knife.
Dima al-Wawi spent more than two months in prison following the attempted stabbing attack.
The youngster was handed over to Palestinian authorities at Tulkarem crossing point into the northern West Bank.
She was to travel from there to her family home near Hebron in the south of the territory.
She was arrested, wearing her school uniform, on February 9 at the entrance to a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and found to be carrying a knife.
A wave of Palestinian knife, gun or car-ramming attacks has left 28 Israelis dead since last October, with 201 Palestinians killed over the same period, most of them while carrying out attacks.
Under a plea bargain with Israeli military prosecutors, Wawi pleaded guilty to attempted murder and possession of a knife and was sentenced to four months in an Israeli prison and a further six-week suspended sentence.
'She is the youngest Palestinian girl ever imprisoned,' her lawyer Tariq Barghouth posted on Facebook.
There were emotional scenes after Dima was reunited to her mother Sabha, left, and father, right
Barghouth said that Wawi’s defence team had asked the military court for her early release and it agreed.
According to Israeli military law, minors from age 12 can be charged, uniquely in the world according to United Nations children’s agency UNICEF.
Israel is currently holding about 450 Palestinian minors, around 100 of whom are under 16.
Dima was greeted by about 80 relatives at her family's house in Halhoul, a village near Hebron, a West Bank city that has been a focal point of violence. Relatives decorated the house with balloons and posters.
Banners by the Islamic militant group Hamas along with the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas adorned the walls.
Dima said: 'I am happy to be out. Prison is bad. During my time in prison I missed my classmates and my friends and family.'
According to court documents provided by the military, Dima approached the West Bank settlement of Carmei Tsur on February 9 with a knife hidden under a shirt.
A security guard ordered her to halt, and a resident instructed her to lie on the ground and told her to give up the knife, which she did.
An amateur video clip shown on Israeli TV showed the resident asking the girl, who was wearing her school uniform, whether she had come to kill Jews, and she said yes.
She later pleaded guilty to attempted manslaughter in a plea bargain and was sentenced to four and a half months in prison. She was freed early after an appeal.
Her case put Israel's military justice system in a tough spot because of her young age.
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war, and Palestinian residents there are subject to a system of military law that can sentence suspects as young as 12 to prison.