Army tells families of Dvir Sorek’s alleged killers it will raze their homes
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Army tells families of Dvir Sorek’s alleged killers it will raze their homes

The 18-year-old student was stabbed to death outside his West Bank seminary in August

IDF soldiers during searches in the West Bank for the terrorists who killed Dvir Sorek, on August 9, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers during searches in the West Bank for the terrorists who killed Dvir Sorek, on August 9, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli military has informed the families of two Palestinians suspected of murdering Israeli student Dvir Sorek last month that it plans to demolish their homes.

On August 7, Nazir Saleh Khalil Atafra, 24, and Qasem Araf Khalil Atafra, 30, are believed to have stabbed to death the 18-year-old Sorek outside of his religious seminary in the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz.

The two were arrested two days later after a manhunt.

The army said Thursday that the families were also informed they “can request an injunction against the demolition.”

Dvir Sorek, 18, a yeshiva student and off-duty IDF soldier who was found stabbed to death outside a West Bank settlement on August 8, 2019 (Courtesy)

The army’s notice comes exactly a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on August 12 that the homes of the two suspects’ families would be demolished in the near future.

On August 11, Israel Defense Forces measured the homes in the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank so that engineers can plan the demolition.

“We have mapped the terrorists’ homes and we will soon demolish them,” Netanyahu said the following day, during a ceremony for the Shin Bet security service in Jerusalem.

Sorek’s body was found in the early hours of August 8 on a road leading to the religious seminary in Migdal Oz, where he was studying as part of hesder, a program that combines military service with Jewish study.

The terrorists fled the scene following the attack, leading security forces on a 48-hour manhunt before suspects were arrested in Beit Kahil at approximately 3 a.m. the following day.

Nazir’s brother Akrama and Qassem’s wife, Ines, were also arrested in the raid. A Shin Bet spokesman said security forces were looking into whether the two had helped the alleged killers hide after the attack.

Israeli troops measure the home of two suspected terrorists accused of killing Dvir Sorek for demolition in the southern West Bank on August 12, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

A vehicle belonging to one of the suspects was also confiscated in the joint Shin Bet-Border Police-IDF raid. The army said that the car was “presumably” used in the attack.

Israel says the practice of demolishing terrorists’ homes is an effective means of discouraging future attacks, though it has been criticized by human rights groups as a form of collective punishment and by some analysts as an ineffective deterrent measure.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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