IDF razes homes of suspects in West Bank attack, clashes with Palestinians

Military says gunmen fired on troops during overnight operation in Silat al-Harithiya, the home village of the alleged terrorists in deadly December shooting

Israeli forces exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen overnight in the northern West Bank while demolishing the homes of two suspected terrorists, the military said Tuesday morning.

Muhammad Youssef Jaradat and Ghaith Ahmed Yassin Jaradat, both from the village of Silat al-Harithiya, are 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.

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 rioted during the demolitions and threw rocks, firebombs and improvised explosive devices at the soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire.

The IDF said armed Palestinians also fired upon troops. The soldiers “responded with fire and successfully completed their mission,” a statement from the military said.

Some Palestinian media reports claimed one person had been shot, but there was no official confirmation from authorities.

Earlier, two Border Police officers were lightly hurt in a suspected car-ramming attack amid the clashes.

IDF soldiers operating in the West Bank Palestinian town of Silat al-Harithiya, March 8, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF demolished the home of a third suspect last month, during which Palestinians said a teenager was killed in a firefight with Israeli troops, and has informed the family of a fourth suspect that his apartment will be destroyed. The two other two suspects, Mahmoud Ghaleb Jaradat and Omar Ahmed Yassin Jaradat, are also from Silat al-Harithiya.

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.

Tuesday’s demolitions came after Israel’s High Court of Justice denied several appeals from both families.

Yehuda Dimentman. (Courtesy)

Numerous 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 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.

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