The Israeli military early Tuesday morning made preparations for the demolition of the homes of a Palestinian terrorist who carried out a deadly shooting attack on the Dee family in the West Bank in April, and a suspect accused of directing the killing of a soldier last year.
On April 7, Hamas terrorists Hassan Qatnani and Moaz al-Masri opened fire at Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters Maia Dee, 20, and Rina Dee, 15, as they drove through the northern Jordan Valley. The daughters were declared dead at the scene, while Lucy was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died three days later.
Qatnani and al-Masri, along with a third Palestinian gunman, were killed in an Israeli raid in Nablus in early May.
In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said troops measured Qatnani’s home — the first step before its potential demolition — in the Askar refugee camp on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus.
It was unclear why al-Masri’s home was not also measured for a potential demolition at this time.
Also overnight, the IDF said troops measured the home of Hussam Bassam Isleem, accused of planning and directing other members of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group to carry out a deadly shooting in the West Bank in October 2022.
On October 11, 2022, Lion’s Den gunmen Abdel Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel opened fire at Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch of the Givati infantry brigade’s reconnaissance unit, killing him as he was securing a march held by settlers near the Palestinian town of Sebastia.
The pair were arrested on February 13, and the mastermind of the cell, Isleem, was killed in a raid on Nablus a week later.
While troops were measuring Isleem’s home in Nablus, Palestinians hurled explosive devices and stones at troops, the military said, adding that forces responded with riot dispersal means.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said 46 Palestinians were treated for injuries during the raid, the vast majority as a result of tear gas inhalation.
The IDF said “the mappings were carried out for the purpose of examining the possibility of demolishing the homes.”
Jouri’s and Taweel’s homes are already slated for demolition.
In another raid early Tuesday morning in the Nur Shams refugee camp, close to the West Bank city of Tulkarem, an IDF soldier was moderately hurt by shrapnel after an explosive device was detonated near forces, the military said.
Separately on Monday night, the chief of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, signed off on an order to seize and demolish the home of another Hamas terrorist, who carried out a deadly shooting attack in the West Bank town of Huwara in February, killing two Israeli brothers.
On February 26, Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha, 49, a member of the Hamas terror group, shot and killed Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, as they drove through Huwara.
Kharousha’s family can still appeal the decision to raze the home to Israel’s High Court of Justice. But such attempts rarely succeed, though in some cases the court can limit the demolition order to only the parts of the house used by the attacker.
As a matter of policy, Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as well as their accomplices. 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.
The demolition process generally takes several months, as the home needs to be mapped out, the High Court must address potential appeals by the family, and security forces often wait for an optimal time to enter Palestinian cities or neighborhoods for the operation.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
Earlier this year, a string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank killed 19 people and left several more seriously hurt.
At least 114 West Bank 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 or were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.