IDF to demolish homes of Lion’s Den gunmen accused of killing soldier last year

Military notifies family of Abdel Kamel Jouri of intention to raze residence in Nablus, a week after general signs off on demolition order against home of second attacker

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

File: An Israeli soldier takes measurements at the home of a Palestinian gunman who killed an Israeli soldier, in the West Bank city of Nablus, early February 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
File: An Israeli soldier takes measurements at the home of a Palestinian gunman who killed an Israeli soldier, in the West Bank city of Nablus, early February 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Friday notified the family of a Palestinian gunman accused of killing a soldier in the West Bank last year that the military intends to demolish their home in the city of Nablus.

On October 11, 2022, Abdel Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel, members of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group, opened fire at Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch of the Givati infantry brigade’s reconnaissance unit, killing him. Baruch was shot by the gunmen while securing a march held by settlers near the Palestinian town of Sebastia. He was stationed by an interchange close to the nearby settlement of Shavei Shomron.

The pair were arrested on February 13, and a third member of the cell who allegedly helped plan the attack, was killed in a raid on Nablus a week later.

In late February, the IDF said troops measured both Jouri and Taweel’s homes, the first step before their potential demolition.

On Friday, Jouri’s relatives were notified of the military’s intention to raze their home, the IDF said.

There was already an outstanding demolition order against Taweel’s home. His family was notified by the military of plans to raze the home in March, and last week, the chief of the IDF’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, signed off on an order to seize and later demolish the home.

Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank on October 11, 2022, in an undated photo released by the military. (Israel Defense Forces)

As a matter of policy, Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks. 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.

Jouri’s family can still appeal the decision to raze the home to Israel’s High Court of Justice. But such attempts rarely succeed, though in some cases the court can limit the demolition order to only the parts of the house used by the attacker.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the Israeli military conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 19 people dead since the beginning of the year and several more seriously hurt.

At least 94 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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