IDF demolishes home of terrorist who killed 3 in Har Adar

Nimer Jamal, 37, of nearby Bayt Surik, hid among a group of Palestinian laborers to carry out his September 26 attack

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

IDF soldiers and border police entered the Palestinian village of Bayt Surik early Wednesday and blew up the home of the terrorist who shot dead three Israelis in the nearby Israeli settlement of Har Adar in September.

The military did not tear down the entire building, instead destroying only Jamal’s apartment. Often, the military carries out such demolitions with heavy engineering equipment, but in this case, the army used explosive charges to blow up the rooms.

An Israeli soldier places explosive charges in the walls of a home belonging to a Palestinian terrorist in the village of Bayt Surik on November 15, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

On the morning of Tuesday, September 26, the 37-year-old Jamal approached the rear entrance of the Har Adar, a settlement that lies just beyond the Green Line in the hills northwest of Jerusalem, with a group of Palestinian laborers. When he was called to stop, he removed a stolen handgun from his shirt and opened fire at the Israeli security officers guarding the gate.

From left to right: Solomon Gavriyah, Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, three Israelis killed in a terror attack outside the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Courtesy)

One Border Police officer, Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and two private security guards — Youssef Ottman, 25, of the nearby Arab Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, and Or Arish, 25, of Har Adar — were killed in the attack. The settlement’s security coordinator, Amit Steinhart, was wounded.

Jamal was shot dead by security forces at the scene.

Already on the next day, the IDF took measurements of Jamal’s home, which is the first step taken ahead of a demolition, and a week later they presented his family members with a demolition order.

The process of knocking down a terrorist’s house after an attack can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the circumstances.

Aerial footage of the demolished home of a Palestinian terrorist in the village of Bayt Surik on November 15, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel made frequent use of home demolitions until 2005, when the government decided to stop employing the measure. However, in 2014, it was brought back into use.

Israeli troops march into the Palestinian village of Bayt Surik before demolishing the home of a terrorist who killed three people on November 15, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

There is a dispute among security analysts and officials over the utility of home demolitions in combating terrorism, with some seeing it as a deterrent for terror attacks and others as an ineffective form of collective punishment.

In separate raids early Wednesday in A-Ram and in the villages of Yatta and Abeda in the West Bank, security soldiers arrested two Palestinians, confiscated two improvised firearms and two handguns, and uncovered a stash of thousands of shekels the army says was intended to fund terror attacks.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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