IDF destroys homes of terrorists who killed border guard, soldier
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IDF destroys homes of terrorists who killed border guard, soldier

On same night, army demolishes three houses of Palestinians behind two separate terror attacks; seals another home

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Israeli security forces destroyed the homes of four Palestinian terrorists on Thursday morning involved in the killings of a Border Police officer and an Israeli soldier.

Three of the attackers whose homes were demolished overnight carried out the June stabbing and shooting attack in Jerusalem in which Border Police officer Hadas Malka was killed, while the fourth rammed his car into soldier Elhai Teharlev in April, fatally wounding him.

In the village of Deir Abu Mashal, the IDF, Border Police and Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration demolished the homes of Bra’a Saleh Atta, 18, and Usama Ahmed Atta, 19. The security forces also sealed shut the home of Adel Ankush, 18.

On June 16, the three Palestinian teenagers carried out a combined shooting and stabbing attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate in which Malka, 23, was killed.

IDF Sgt. Elhai Teharlev (L), who was killed in a car-ramming attack on April 6, 2017, and Hadas Malka, who was killed in a terror attack on June 16, 2017. (Courtesy: IDF spokesperson)
IDF Sgt. Elhai Teharlev (L), who was killed in a car-ramming attack on April 6, 2017, and Hadas Malka, who was killed in a terror attack on June 16, 2017. (Courtesy: IDF spokesperson)

Two of the terrorists attacked a different group of Border Police officers, with a Carlo-style submachine gun and a knife. The assailants were eventually shot and killed.

Malka was in a second group of border guards that came to assist their comrades. As she and her team responded, the third terrorist attacked her from behind, stabbing her multiple times in the upper body before he was shot dead.

Four other people, including another police officer, were injured in the attack. They all sustained light to moderate wounds.

Israeli soldier prepare to fill the home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank with concrete in order to seal it off, on August 10, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldier prepare to fill the home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank with concrete in order to seal it off, on August 10, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Also on Thursday morning, Israeli security forces demolished the home of Malek Ahmad Mousa Hamed, 21, in the town of Silwad, near Ramallah.

Israeli security forces inspect the site of a car ramming attack outside the Israeli West Bank Settlement of Ofra on April 6, 2017. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)
Israeli security forces inspect the site of a car ramming attack outside the Israeli West Bank Settlement of Ofra on April 6, 2017. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

On April 6, Hamed killed Sgt. Taharlev in a car-ramming attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ofra. Taharlev and another soldier, who sustained light injuries, were guarding a bus stop off the Route 60 highway.

The car struck the soldiers as they stood in an opening between the bollards protecting the bus stop and the concrete barrier protecting the rest of the sidewalk. The attacker accelerated at the soldiers from across the street to maximize the speed of impact, an army spokesman said at the time.

Last month, the army issued demolition orders for the four terrorists’ houses. Home demolitions are a common, but controversial, measure taken by the IDF after deadly attacks. Israel largely abandoned the practice in 2005, before started it up again in 2014.

The home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank that was demolished by the Israeli army on August 10, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
The home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank that was demolished by the Israeli army on August 10, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

As per Israel’s Emergency Security Regulations — which has its origins in Ottoman law — the military commander of a given area “has the right to order the demolition of any house, structure or land” of anyone who took part in a violent act or assisted those who took part in a violent act.

Israel argues that home demolitions are not punishments, but rather serve as a deterrent, preventing future attacks, according to section 119 of Israel’s Emergency Security Regulations.

The practice’s detractors decry it as a form of collective punishment on the families of terrorists. Others argue that home demolitions are ineffective in preventing terror attacks.

In addition to the home demolitions, Israeli forces conducted arrest raids across the West Bank overnight, detaining 12 Palestinian suspects, the army said.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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