IDF guts Nablus home of Hamas terrorist accused in killing of Dee family

As troops operate in West Bank city, Jewish pilgrims try to reach shrine without military coordination; Palestinian teen killed, Border Police officer hurt in clashes near Ramallah

Palestinians inspect the debris of the house of Moaz al-Masry, a Palestinian accused of killing a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters in the West Bank last year, after it was blown up by Israeli troops in Nablus on March 4, 2024. (Zain JAAFAR / AFP)
Palestinians inspect the debris of the house of Moaz al-Masry, a Palestinian accused of killing a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters in the West Bank last year, after it was blown up by Israeli troops in Nablus on March 4, 2024. (Zain JAAFAR / AFP)

The Nablus home of the Hamas terrorist accused of killing a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters in an attack last year was blown up in an overnight operation, the Israel Defense Forces said Monday.

Palestinian media outlets shared pictures and videos on Monday morning of what they said was the home of Moaz al-Masri on the fourth floor of an apartment building in the West Bank city, reduced to a shell. Other floors appeared to be intact and undamaged.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that IDF troops evacuated some 10 families from apartments near the al-Masri home before laying explosives and blowing up the apartment.

According to the IDF, al-Masri was part of a cell that opened fire at Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters Maia and Rina Dee, aged 20 and 15, as they drove through the northern Jordan Valley on April 7, 2023. The daughters were declared dead at the scene of the attack while Lucy was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died three days later.

Al-Masri and the other two members of his cell, Hassan Qatnani and Ibrahim Jabr, were killed in an Israeli military raid in early May, following a manhunt. Hamas said that the three were members of the terror group and claimed responsibility for the attack.

The three members of the Dee family were dual Israeli-British nationals who lived in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, just south of Jerusalem, after moving to Israel some eight years ago.

The IDF measured Al-Masri’s home for demolition in June last year, after first mapping Qatnani’s.

At the time, it said that “the mappings were carried out for the purpose of examining the possibility of demolishing the homes.”

Qatnani’s home was demolished in late October.

From left: Lucy Dee is seen with her daughters Rina and Maia. The two sisters were shot dead in a terrorist attack in the West Bank on April 7, 2023. Their mother, critically hurt in the attack, died on April 10, 2023. (Courtesy)

As a matter of policy, Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as well as their accomplices. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.

The demolition process generally takes several months, as the home needs to be mapped out, the High Court must address potential appeals by the family, and security forces often wait for an optimal time to enter Palestinian cities or neighborhoods for the operation.

The husband and children of Lucy Dee, 48, who was killed in a West Bank terror shooting attack, attend her funeral at the Gush Etzion Regional Cemetery in Kfar Etzion on April 11, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

At the same time that IDF troops operated in Nablus to demolish al-Masri’s home overnight, 11 vehicles, including several minibuses, carrying Jewish pilgrims entered the Palestinian city to visit Joseph’s Tomb without prior military coordination.

At one point during the night, the pilgrims exited the vehicles in order to pray, sing and dance in the middle of the street, footage showed.

It was unclear if the group reached the shrine before IDF troops arrived at the scene to escort them out of the city.

At least one Palestinian gunman opened fire toward the vehicles as they left Nablus but there were no reports of injuries.

Joseph’s Tomb, believed by some to be the final resting place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, is located inside Area A of the West Bank, which is officially under complete Palestinian Authority control, though the Israeli military regularly enters to conduct security operations.

Busloads of Orthodox Jews used to visit Joseph’s Tomb under IDF protection on a near-monthly basis, and the visits almost always sparked violent clashes with Palestinian locals. Since October 7, the IDF has put the coordinated visits on hold.

The IDF bars Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian cities without prior authorization and protection, and some criticize the monthly visits by the pilgrims as an unnecessary provocation that places Israeli soldiers at risk.

The IDF confirmed on Monday morning that the pilgrims were removed from the Palestinian city without casualties and stressed that entry into Area A without prior coordination is “prohibited and dangerous for Israelis.”

Palestinian teen killed in clashes amid raid adjacent to Ramallah

Separately, Israeli forces swept into the Palestinian Authority’s administrative capital of Ramallah in the West Bank overnight, killing a 16-year-old in an adjacent refugee camp, the PA health ministry said.

The IDF said it had operated in the Am’ari refugee camp for six hours, detaining two wanted Palestinians, questioning other suspects, and seizing “incitement materials of the Hamas terror organization.”

IDF troops operate in the West Bank, early March 4, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

“During the operation, a violent disturbance developed in which suspects hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at the troops who responded with gunfire,” the IDF said, adding that one suspect was hit.

The PA health ministry said 16-year-old Mustafa Abu Shalbak was killed amid the clashes.

The Palestinian news agency WAFA said confrontations broke out as Israeli forces stormed the camp, “during which live bullets were fired at Palestinian youths,” wounding Abu Shalbak in the neck and chest.

One Border Police officer was lightly hurt in the clashes, the IDF said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The IDF said it detained another 11 wanted Palestinians in other areas of the West Bank overnight.

Since October 7, troops have arrested some 3,400 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,500 affiliated with Hamas, the IDF has said. According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, more than 400 West Bank Palestinians have been killed in that time.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: