Clashes as IDF maps for demolition home of Palestinian who killed soldier

Army says rioters in al-Am’ari refugee camp attack security forces operating at family residence of Yousef Abu Hamid, who killed Ronen Lubarsky by dropping marble slab on his head

Security forces map for demolition the home of Palestinian who killed an IDF soldier, seen here in the al-Am’ari refugee camp in the West Bank, October 2, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Security forces map for demolition the home of Palestinian who killed an IDF soldier, seen here in the al-Am’ari refugee camp in the West Bank, October 2, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Palestinian protesters clashed violently with security forces overnight Tuesday as the army surveyed the family home of a Palestinian who killed an IDF soldier, ahead of its demolition.

Israel Defense Forces units arrived in the al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah to map the home of Islam Yousef Abu Hamid, who killed Ronen Lubarsky in May by dropping a marble slab on his head from a rooftop.

Rioters hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces who responded with riot dispersal methods, the IDF said in a statement.

There were no reports of injuries.

The army added that in other operations across the West Bank seven people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in terror and popular terror activities against civilians and security forces.

Two weeks ago Hamid’s family was informed that the IDF intends to destroy all four stories of the building, and not just two floors as had previously been stated.

Ronen Lubarsky, an IDF soldier from the Duvdevan unit who died on May 26, 2018 after being critically injured by a slab thrown on his head two days earlier (Courtesy)

The IDF noted that the home was erected on a plot where a building was previously demolished in the 1990’s following an attack by Hamid’s brother. At the time, the family was ordered not to rebuild the structure.

A military court filed an indictment in May against Hamid, 32, charging him with murder.

According to court papers, on the night of the incident when Lubarsky was injured, Hamid woke up to the sounds of dogs barking and soldiers shouting as they arrested two of his neighbors in an adjacent house.

Hamid climbed to the roof of a neighboring home where he chose the heavier of two marble slabs that were waiting there for him. He lifted the 40-pound slab onto the railing of the roof and hurled it down onto Lubarsky, who was standing below.

The suspect then immediately climbed back onto the roof of his home and crawled inside as soldiers tended to their injured comrade.

Lubarsky, from the central city of Rehovot, was critically injured and died of his wounds two days later.

Security forces arrive in the al-Am’ari refugee camp in the West Bank to map for demolition the home of Palestinian who killed an IDF soldier, October 2, 2018. (IDF Spokesperson)

Hamid was also charged with obstruction of justice for efforts to tamper with the crime scene hours after the incident.

According to the indictment, Hamid snuck back to the adjacent rooftop and used cleaning materials to wipe his fingerprints off of the second marble slab that he had grasped earlier, but decided against using.

The IDF said that the soldiers had been on a mission to arrest members of a terror cell who had been carrying out shooting attacks. The raid was based on intelligence information obtained in coordination with the Shin Bet security agency.

A few days after Lubarsky was killed, the military carried out a raid in al-Am’ari, in an apparent effort to locate the soldier’s killer. Clashes broke out between residents and the Israeli troops, with 13 Palestinians lightly or moderately injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry said at the time. Hamid was arrested in the raid.

According to the Shin Bet, Hamid had been incarcerated in Israeli prison from 2004 to 2009 for terrorist activities committed on behalf of the Hamas terrorist group.

In a statement, the security service also said Hamid’s brothers were also members of Hamas.

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.

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