search

Army demolishes home of Henkin terror cell leader

IDF engineers raze Nablus apartment of Hamas man said to have masterminded killing of parents; low-level clashes break out

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Illustrative photo of a Palestinian woman walking amid the rubble of a house after Israeli security forces demolished the homes of two Palestinians behind attacks in the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber in East Jerusalem, on October 6, 2015. (AFP/THOMAS COEX)
Illustrative photo of a Palestinian woman walking amid the rubble of a house after Israeli security forces demolished the homes of two Palestinians behind attacks in the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber in East Jerusalem, on October 6, 2015. (AFP/THOMAS COEX)

The Israeli army early Thursday demolished the Nablus home of a Hamas man it says was the terror mastermind behind the fatal shooting of two parents in a West Bank attack two months ago.

The IDF said in a statement it razed the home of Ragheb Ahmed Mohammed Aluya, the leader of the cell that murdered Naama and Eitam Henkin in October.

IDF engineers accompanied by an elite unit entered the Dahiyya neighborhood in the West Bank city of Nablus to carry out the demolition after the High Court rejected a petition against the order on Tuesday.

It was the second demolition in as many days, as Israel pushes ahead with a controversial policy it argues is key to deterring future attacks from Palestinians.

Low-level clashes broke out at the scene as the IDF carried out the work, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. One Palestinian was hospitalized after being shot by a rubber bullet.

The Henkin couple were shot to death as they were traveling in their car near the West Bank settlement of Itamar. Their four small children – the oldest is 9 years old – were in the backseat and witnessed their murder but were uninjured.

Eitam Henkin and Naama Henkin of Neria, who were murdered in a drive-by terror attack near Nablus on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Eitam Henkin and Naama Henkin of Neria, who were murdered in a drive-by terror attack near Nablus on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

The army said Aluya was the mastermind behind the terrorist attack, enlisting the rest of the cell, directing their activities as well as supplying the weapons used in the shooting.

The shooting was seen as the first major attack in a wave of terror that has rocked Israel for the last two months, leaving almost two dozen people dead on the Israeli side and over 100 Palestinians, many of them assailants, according to Israeli figures.

Pictures published in Palestinian media showed a hollowed out shell blasted in a second story apartment in a four story building. A poster with Aluya’s face and the Palestinian flag was hung above a hole blown through an outer wall.

The demolition of the Aluya home came less than a day after IDF engineers demolished the family home of Hamas terrorist Ibrahim al-Akari in the Shuafat refugee camp outside Jerusalem.

Al-Akari killed two Israelis in a vehicular terror attack in the city last November. Border Police Superintendent Jadan Assad was killed in the attack. Shalom Aharon Baadani, a 17-year-old Jewish seminary student hit by Akari’s car while riding a bicycle near the rail station, died two days later of his wounds.

The practice of demolishing the family homes of terrorists has been criticized by non-governmental groups, but government officials have defended its use as a deterrent against attacks.

Critics claim that in addition to being a form of collective punishment, house demolitions could motivate family members of terrorists to launch attacks themselves.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed