IDF prepares to demolish home of gunman who killed Israeli-American Elan Ganeles
Troops operate in Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, hometown of suspected terrorist who carried out highway shooting last week; 14 wanted Palestinians detained in overnight raids
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
The Israeli military made preparations early Monday morning for the demolition of the home of a Palestinian man accused of carrying out a deadly terror shooting attack on a highway near the West Bank city of Jericho last week.
The suspected terrorist behind the killing of dual American-Israeli citizen Elan Ganeles on February 27 was arrested by troops on March 1, alongside another man suspected of being the driver in the attack.
During the attack, the gunman opened fire at Ganeles’s car on the Route 90 highway as he was heading to a friend’s wedding in Jerusalem, killing him, before opening fire at several other cars in the area.
On Monday morning before dawn, Israeli troops measured the suspected terrorist’s home — the first step before its potential demolition — in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, adjacent to Jericho.
Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.
Clashes broke out in Aqabat Jabr amid the operation. Troops returned fire at a number of Palestinians who hurled stones and Molotov cocktails, the IDF said, adding that several suspects were hit.
Palestinian health officials said four men were hurt by the gunfire.
In separate raids across the West Bank overnight, the IDF said troops detained 14 wanted Palestinians, suspected of involvement in terror activities.
In Nablus, troops detained three men and seized three M16 assault rifles, the IDF said.
The 14 suspects were handed over to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning.
No soldiers were hurt in the raids.
In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts and troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
Israeli forces were meanwhile still searching for the gunman who killed two Israeli brothers from the West Bank settlement of Har Bracha in the nearby Palestinian town of Huwara on February 27.
A string of Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent months left 14 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.
At least 64 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.
There has also been a rise in settler violence toward Palestinians in recent months.