IDF demolishes home of Homesh terror suspect; troops clash with Palestinians

Forces carry out overnight operation in Silat al-Harithiya, village of alleged killers of Yehuda Dimentman in 2021; 3 Palestinians wounded in clashes

Israeli troops demolishing the home of a suspected terrorist in Silat al-Harithiya, on May 7, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops demolishing the home of a suspected terrorist in Silat al-Harithiya, on May 7, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli forces demolished the home of a suspected terrorist overnight in the northern West Bank, clashing with Palestinian rioters on the scene, the military said Saturday morning.

The Israel Defense Forces destroyed the floor where the home of Omar Ahmed Yassin Jaradat was located in a building in the village of Silat al-Harithiya.

The operation was initially reported by Palestinian media outlets, and later confirmed by the military.

Jaradat’s home on one floor of a building was destroyed, but the external structure was left standing. The demolition took place after legal appeals by Jaradat’s family were rejected.

The IDF said that during the operation, “riots developed in various hotspots, during which suspects threw stones and threw Molotov cocktails at forces.” The military said troops also heard gunfire.

According to the IDF, soldiers responded with low-caliber Ruger rounds, which are considered less lethal than the larger caliber rounds typically used by the IDF. Human rights groups have condemned the use of Ruger fire for riot control, as the weapon can still kill.

The Red Crescent said that three Palestinians were wounded during clashes with Israeli forces during the demolition. There were no further details given on their conditions.

Jaradat is accused of being part of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell that shot and killed Yehuda Dimentman near the Homesh outpost in December. Two other Israelis were lightly wounded in the shooting. Jaradat was arrested days after the killing.

Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy is controversial even within the Israeli security services and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

Palestinians throw rocks at an Israeli military vehicle in the West Bank village of Silat al-Harithiya, near Jenin, on May 7, 2022, as Israeli forces demolished the home of Omar Jaradat, who was part of a terror cell who shot and killed yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman in the West Bank in December 2021. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

In March, Israeli forces demolished the homes of two other suspects in the attack — Muhammad Youssef Jaradat and Ghaith Ahmed Yassin Jaradat, also from Silat al-Harithiya.

The Israel Defense Forces said the military razed the former’s house and destroyed a floor of the home in which the latter lived.

According to the military, dozens of Palestinians also rioted during the March demolitions and threw rocks, firebombs and improvised explosive devices at the soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire.

The IDF demolished the home of a fourth suspect in February, during which Palestinians said a teenager was killed in a firefight with Israeli troops.

Silat al-Harithiya is located near the West Bank city of Jenin — an area from where the suspected terrorists in a number of recent attacks have hailed, including Thursday’s assault in Elad in which three men were killed.

In addition to those suspects, the perpetrators of the recent deadly attacks in Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv also hailed from Jenin and its environs.

Yehuda Dimentman. (Courtesy)

A number of suspects have been charged over the December shooting attack in which Dimentman was killed and two others lightly wounded.

The three were fired on as they left a yeshiva at the illegal Homesh outpost where they studied. Homesh was evacuated in 2005 following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and some West Bank settlements.

While Israeli law bans resettling at Homesh, the army has tolerated the presence of the yeshiva for over a decade and a half. The area has also been the site of repeated clashes between the outpost’s hard-right Jewish settlers and local Palestinians.

Since the attack, settlers have sought to pressure the government to legalize the yeshiva.

Last month, several thousand right-wing Israelis marched to the dismantled Homesh settlement. Several opposition politicians participated, as well as former coalition whip Idit Silman, despite the fact that the march amounted to a violation of military law, which bars Israelis from returning to the grounds of the four settlements the government vacated in 2005. The march sparked clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians protesting the rally.

Alexander Fulbright and Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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