IDF preps home demolitions for Jaffa Gate stabbers, car-rammer
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IDF preps home demolitions for Jaffa Gate stabbers, car-rammer

Army arrests five Palestinians in overnight sweeps, including a Hamas member

Illustrative: IDF soldiers of the Givati Brigade during a late-night mission in the West Bank, October 7, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers of the Givati Brigade during a late-night mission in the West Bank, October 7, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

Israeli forces overnight Thursday-Friday made preparations for the demolition of the homes of the two Palestinian terrorists who carried out a fatal attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City earlier this week.

Israeli soldiers also mapped out the Qalandiya house of a Palestinian who rammed his car into Israelis north of Jerusalem on Thursday, injuring one person, and arrested five Palestinians in several different raids.

Attackers Anan Abu Habsah and Issa Assaf, both 21, from the Qalandiya refugee camp outside Jerusalem, stabbed two Israelis near Jaffa Gate on Wednesday. Rabbi Reuben Birmajer later died of his wounds. Also killed in the attack was Ofer Ben Ari, 46, who died after being mistakenly shot by police amid the chaos of the attack.

Another Israeli was badly wounded in the stabbing. Both attackers were killed on the spot by police.

Israeli forensic police stand next to the body of a Palestinian attacker who was shot dead as he stabbed Israelis outside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, Jerusalem December 23, 2015. (AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)
Israeli forensic police stand next to the body of a Palestinian attacker who was shot dead as he stabbed Israelis outside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, Jerusalem, December 23, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

In Thursday’s attack, a Palestinian lightly injured an Israeli after ramming his vehicle into him at a West Bank junction. The attacker, later named as Wissam Abu Ghawilah, was shot and killed at the scene by security forces.

Apart from measuring the homes prior to demolition, the army arrested five Palestinians in overnight raids. Two of the Palestinians were suspected of participating in violent protests against the army. In Nablus, a Hamas member was detained by Israeli forces.

The practice of demolishing the family homes of terrorists has been criticized by nongovernmental groups, but officials have defended its use as a deterrent against future 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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