IDF raids homes of Sarona shooters – report
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IDF raids homes of Sarona shooters – report

High Court of Justice approved last month the demolition of the terrorists’ family homes near Hebron

Israeli soldiers man a checkpoint at the entrance to the Palestinian village of Yatta in the southern West Bank on June 9, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers man a checkpoint at the entrance to the Palestinian village of Yatta in the southern West Bank on June 9, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

IDF forces raided the West Bank homes of the two Palestinian terrorists who carried out the shooting rampage at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on June 8.

According to Al-Jazeera, the overnight raid in the village of Yatta, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, targeted the homes of cousins Khalid and Muhammad Muhamra, who were captured immediately after the attack in which they killed four and wounded 41.

Israeli authorities have said that the shooters were inspired by Islamic State.

The High Court of Justice gave the go-ahead late last month to the army’s request to demolish the homes, noting that the shooting was the deadliest terror attack in recent months.

However, the court also partially accepted an appeal by neighbors seeking protection for their homes in the same multistory buildings.

The army originally planned to destroy two floors of the building where Muhammad Muhamra lived, but the court ruled that only one will be demolished.

Khalid Muhamra, left, Younis Ayash Musa Zayn, center, and Muhammad Muhamra, right, speak with an attorney during their indictment in a Tel Aviv District Court on July 4, 2016. The three Palestinian men have been charged with murder in connection with the terror attack at the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv in which four Israelis were killed. (Flash90)
Khalid Muhamra, left, Younis Ayash Musa Zayn, center, and Muhammad Muhamra, right, speak with an attorney during their indictment in a Tel Aviv District Court on July 4, 2016. The three Palestinian men have been charged with murder in connection with the terror attack at the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv in which four Israelis were killed. (Flash90)

Israeli officials say the home demolitions are a key deterrent to keep other Palestinians from carrying out attacks, though human rights groups and some Israeli security officials argue that it is a form of collective punishment, or that it is not an effective deterrent.

When buildings contain many families or others unrelated to the terror attacks that triggered a demolition, IDF engineers usually carry out the order by filling a single room or floor with cement, rendering it unusable without compromising the integrity of the building.

The Muhamra shooters are currently awaiting trial on murder charges along with another Palestinian man, Younis Ayash Musa Zayn, accused of helping the two.

Israeli security forces at the scene where two terrorists opened fire at the Sarona Market shopping center in Tel Aviv, on June 8, 2016. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene where two terrorists opened fire at the Sarona Market shopping center in Tel Aviv, on June 8, 2016. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

In its July decision, the court said it took into account the effect the demolitions could have on the wave of violence, which has left over 30 Israelis dead but has waned in recent months.

“The reality of the security situation is that there is a sharp increase in terror activities over the past two years. The pace and the seriousness of these attacks is increasing,” the decision read. It accepted the state’s argument of “a need for extraordinary measures to establish the necessary deterrence.”

The decision noted that there was evidence that the family knew of the cousins’ plans and thus could be punished as well.

The judges noted that there were indications that some of Khalid Muhamra’s family members knew he was involved in illegal weapons trafficking and his sister had shared Facebook posts supporting terror and even praised her brother’s attack in a post after the fact.

In addition, Muhammed Muhamra’s interrogation indicated that his father knew he was interested in purchasing a weapon.

“There is reason to believe that there was an environment in the houses where the attackers lived, encouraging them, in one way or another, to be involved in security crimes against Israelis,” the decision read.

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