IDF partially demolishes West Bank home of Barkan terrorist

Victims’ family members slam IDF’s decision not to level entire building in Shuweika, near Tulkarem, insist gunman Ashraf Na’alowa’s family knew about his plans

Four days after IDF forces killed Ashraf Na’alowa, the perpetrator of the Barkan terror attack, in a firefight in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Israeli forces on Monday partially demolished the terrorist’s home near Tulkarem.

The structure itself was left intact while a part of its interior was destroyed by bulldozers. Parts of the building belong to family members who were determined by Israeli security services to have played no role in the terror attack.

Dozens of youths in the Tulkarem-area village of Shuweika clashed with IDF troops protecting the demolition crews.

The Israel Defense Forces said the Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli forces who responded with tear gas and other less-lethal riot dispersal weapons.

The Israeli military on December 17, 2018, partially destroys the home of Ashraf Na’alowa, a Palestinian terrorist who killed two Israelis and injured a third in a shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone two months prior. (Israel Defense Forces)

Several Palestinians were lightly hurt, according to Palestinian media. No Israeli troops were injured.

On October 7, Na’alowa, 23, killed his coworkers Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi at a factory where all three worked in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the West Bank. Another Israeli woman was also injured in the attack.

After a two-month manhunt, Israeli forces found and killed him last Thursday. According to the IDF, Na’alowa opened fire at the officers who came to arrest him. The troops shot back, killing him.

An IDF soldier notifying a relative of terror suspect Ashraf Na’alowa of the military’s intention to demolish his home, October 15, 2018. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The Shin Bet security service said Na’alowa appeared to be planning to conduct a second terror attack, “which was prevented with the interception of the assailant.”

The service said when the troops arrived he shot at them with the same Carlo-style submachine gun used to murder Yehezkel and Hajbi in the Barkan attack.

Na’alowa had eluded capture for over two months, and was helped along the way by individuals believed linked to Hamas cells operating in the West Bank. A number of his relatives and alleged accomplices were arrested and indicted as part of the manhunt.

On Monday morning, Iris Hajbi, Ziv’s mother, complained about what she called the limited demolition in Na’alowa’s family’s apartment building.

Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29 (left), and Ziv Hajbi, 35, who were killed in a terror shooting in the Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank, October 7, 2018 (screenshots: Facebook)

“I’m angry that they’re not destroying the entire home,” Hajbi said in a radio interview. “They told me they would also destroy the homes of accomplices. What’s the sense in demolishing the entire home of the accomplice, but leaving the murderer’s home half intact?”

She said military officials had told her Na’alowa’s brother, who owns an adjacent apartment to the gunman, “had ‘no part’ [in the attack] — but that’s not possible. He was in the home, he’s his family,” Hajbi said. She planned to raise the issue, as well as salaries the Palestinian Authority is to pay to the Na’alowa family for their son’s terror attack, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when she meets him later Monday, she said.

Levengrond Yehezkel’s father, Rafi Levengrond, also complained after the demolition that “nothing was destroyed. It’s like they touched up the plaster.”

He noted that Israeli officials wanted to avoid damaging an apartment above Na’alowa’s home belonging to relatives, and so was careful to break only walls that were not load-bearing. “They didn’t wound my daughter. They slaughtered her, executed her. And there’s a direct connection between the brother, the mother, the father and the terrorist.”

He added: “If all they’re going to do is this sort of plaster-work, better not to do it at all. It’d be a shame for a soldier to get hurt [in the demolition operation] for this. I demand the demolition of the entire home.”

Ziv Hajbi’s brother Tal made a similar demand on Monday, accusing the IDF of doing “only half the job.” He emphasized he wasn’t criticizing the soldiers, but their orders. “When the terrorist came to murder my brother and Kim, he didn’t intend to do only half the job. His whole family knew about it.”

Levengrond Yehezkel was a secretary and Hajbi worked in accounting at the Alon Group’s factory in the Barkan industrial park. Na’alowa was employed there as an electrician.

On Thursday, with news of Na’alowa’s death, the families of the two victims described the moment as “bittersweet” and urged the government to take harsher measures against Palestinian terrorists and their families.

“It’s about time,” said Levengrond Yehezkel’s widower, Guy, who noted he had found out about Na’alowa’s death on Facebook, before state officials could contact him.

“This won’t bring back Kim or Ziv, but I had preferred that [the terrorist] not be caught alive,” he told Hadashot TV news Thursday. “He would’ve been jailed and released in ten years with an academic degree, so this is a small consolation. I never thought it would take this long.”

Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, a Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack on October 7, 2018 in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the northern West Bank. (Courtesy)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a short statement following Na’alowa’s death on Thursday morning, praising the security forces for their “impressive operations” in locating and killing the “lowlife” Barkan terrorist.

Israel has defended its policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinian terrorists who commit attacks in which people are killed or seriously injured on the grounds that it discourages future attacks. The controversial measure has been criticized by human rights groups as a form of collective punishment, and some analysts and officials question its effectiveness as a deterrent measure.

AP contributed to this report.

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