Israeli forces overnight razed the Hebron home of a Palestinian terrorist who ran over and stabbed to death an Israeli civilian during a wave of violence nearly a year ago, the army said Tuesday morning.
The military said it demolished the home of Maher Hamdi el-Hashlamoun, who killed 26-year-old Dalia Lemkus in order to send a warning to other would-be terrorists, as the country struggles to stamp out a fresh wave of terror.
“Last night’s activity sends a clear message that there is a personal price to pay when you are involved in terror. We will utilize all the necessary means in order to protect innocent civilians from the atrocities of those engaged in stabbing, shooting and the killing of innocent Israelis,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement.
Pictures in Palestinian media showed the apartment gutted.
בלילה הרסו כוחות צה"ל את ביתו בחברון של המחבל מאהר אלהשלמון שרצח בפיגוע את דליה למקוס ז"ל בצומת אלון שבות. pic.twitter.com/1jEb24ADHo
— Tal Lev-Ram (@tallevram) October 20, 2015
Clashes between troops and Palestinians broke out after the home demolition.
The army said it deployed “non-lethal riot dispersal methods and successfully broke up the demonstration,” after some 150 protesters threw stones and rolled burning tires at Israeli troops.
On November 10, 2014, Hashlamoun rammed his car into a bus stop outside the Israeli settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem, attempting to Lemkus.
He then got out of the car and stabbed Lemkus multiple times, as well as two other people nearby, before being detained by a passing security guard.
Lemkus, a resident of the nearby settlement of Tekoa, died after being rushed to a hospital. The other victims sustained light injuries.
In March, Hashlamoun was sentenced by a military court to two life terms, “one … for the murder of [Lemkus], and the other for the attempted murders,” according to the judges.
The military court also ordered Hashlamoun to pay nearly NIS 4 million in compensation to the Lemkus family.
Hashlamoun expressed no regret when he was given the right to speak during the trial. “The problem with you Jews is that you don’t understand that the Al-Aqsa mosque is our holiest location. We set our eyes on Jerusalem and are willing to die for it,” he told the court.
Israeli ministers recently voted to expedite home demolitions of terrorists as a punitive measure, amid an ongoing wave of violence.
The army said the decision to raze Hashlamoun’s home had been signed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and indicated the decision had been a political one.
“The army, with participation of other security agencies, will continue to act according to the instruction of the political echelon and will use every method at its disposal according to the law in order to grant security to the citizens of Israel,” the IDF said in a statement on the home demolition.
The practice of home demolitions, which has also been carried out against a number of other terrorists from East Jerusalem and Hebron, has been criticized by outside groups, but government officials have defended its use as a deterrent against attacks.
“Whoever feels mercy for the cruel is bound to eventually be cruel to the merciful,” Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said at a cabinet meeting last week. “We must inflict upon terrorists and their families critical economic harm. Every terrorist should know before they hurt a Jew that his family will also be hurt. We must create a balance of deterrence against terrorists in the economic aspect as well.”
Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.