IDF razes West Bank homes of two Palestinian terrorists
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IDF razes West Bank homes of two Palestinian terrorists

After temporary court injunction, army engineers level houses belonging to suspects in deadly November 19 attacks in Tel Aviv, Etzion Bloc

Israeli troops demolished the homes early Tuesday of two Palestinian terrorists accused of killing five Israelis in twin attacks last year, the army said.

IDF engineers accompanied by Border Police officers destroyed the homes of Raed Masalmeh, 36, in the West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron, and Mohammed Abdel Basset al-Kharoub, 24, in village of Dir Smat, also near Hebron, the military said in a statement.

Earlier this month the High Court of Justice issued temporary injunctions against demolition orders for Masalmeh and al-Kharoub’s homes in response to petitions by their families.

Both attackers are in Israeli custody.

Pictures published on social media purporting to be from the home demolitions showed troops standing among rubble.

https://twitter.com/PalinfoAr/status/701978464493113345/photo/1

Masalmeh admitted stabbing to death Reuven Aviram, 51, and 32-year-old Aharon Yesiav, and wounding a third person in an attack on Jewish worshipers at the Panorama office building in south Tel Aviv on November 19. He has been indicted for murder at Tel Aviv District Court.

Just hours after the Tel Aviv attack, Mohammed Abdel Basset al-Kharoub, 24, from the village of Dir Smat near Hebron, shot dead three people and wounded four others near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut.

Relatives inspect the damaged interior of the home of Mohammed al-Harub, a Palestinian man accused of opening fire at a junction near Israeli settlements in the West Bank then ramming his car into a group of pedestrians, after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers near the West Bank village of Dura on February 23, 2016. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)
Relatives inspect the damaged interior of the home of Mohammed al-Harub, a Palestinian man accused of opening fire at a junction near Israeli settlements in the West Bank then ramming his car into a group of pedestrians, after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers near the West Bank village of Dura on February 23, 2016. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)

Among his victims was was American Jewish youth Ezra Schwartz, 18, Israeli man Yaakov Don, 51 and Palestinian Shadi Arafa, 24.

Raed Masalmeh, 36, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on December 2, 2015. (Photo by Flash90)
Raed Masalmeh, 36, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on December 2, 2015. (Photo by Flash90)

Tel Aviv attacker Masalmeh expressed regret for his actions and shed a tear while reenacting the crime, police said. He said he was driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians.

Four days before he carried out the attack, Masalmeh had been issued the permit to work in Israel. The permit was issued after a background check by security services found he had no record of previous activity constituting a security concern.

Relatives inspect the damaged interior of the home of Mohammed al-Harub, a Palestinian man accused of opening fire at a junction near Israeli settlements in the West Bank then ramming his car into a group of pedestrians, after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers near the West Bank village of Dura on February 23, 2016. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)
Relatives inspect the damaged interior of the home of Mohammed al-Harub, a Palestinian man accused of opening fire at a junction near Israeli settlements in the West Bank then ramming his car into a group of pedestrians, after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers near the West Bank village of Dura on February 23, 2016. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)

In the West Bank attack, police and army confirmed al-Kharoub opened fire with an Uzi submachine gun from inside a vehicle, hitting several people. When he ran out of ammunition, the attacker drove in the direction of the nearby Etzion Bloc Junction before ramming his vehicle into a car.

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.

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