IDF razes Jenin apartment of terrorist; Palestinian reported killed in clashes

IDF says troops come under ‘massive gunfire’ in Jenin refugee camp as they demolish the home of Ra’ad Hazem, who killed 3 in Tel Aviv in April

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

Israeli security forces operated in the West Bank city of Jenin in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday to demolish the home of a Palestinian terrorist who killed three Israelis in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv in April, the military said.

A video published by the Israel Defense Forces showed the apartment, in a building in the Jenin refugee camp, demolished in two blasts. A clip posted to social media showed the aftermath of the demolition, with one wall blown out and rubble in some areas.

The demolition order was issued in May for the apartment of Ra’ad Hazem, who opened fire on April 7 on patrons at the Ilka bar on Dizengoff street in Tel Aviv.

The IDF said clashes broke out, including “massive gunfire directed at troops,” amid the demolition operation.

According to Palestinian media reports, a man was killed and several others were injured in an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops.

The military said troops had returned fire at gunmen and rioters who hurled explosives at them.

The deceased Palestinian was named as Muhammed Musa Sabaaneh. A video posted to social media purported to show the end of a livestream on Sabaaneh’s TikTok account. The reports said he was shot while streaming the IDF’s operation in the area.

Hazem killed Tomer Morad and Eytam Magini, two friends aged 27, and Barak Lufan, a 35-year-old father of three, in the shooting and injured about a dozen others. He went on the run following the murders and was found hiding near a mosque in Jaffa after an hours-long manhunt involving hundreds of security officers.

While initially raising his hands in surrender, Hazem then drew a gun and opened fire on the officers, who fired back and killed him.

Israeli troops are seen inside the demolished home of Ra’ad Hazem, the terrorist who killed three in Tel Aviv in April, in the Jenin refugee camp, September 6, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

As a punitive policy, Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks. Israel defends the contentious practice of razing the family homes of attackers as a deterrent against future assaults, and officials have argued that speed is essential, claiming that the deterrent factor degrades over time.

Over the years, however, a number of Israeli defense officials have questioned the efficacy of the practice, and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

The three victims of a terror attack in Tel Aviv on April 7, 2022. From left: Tomer Morad, Eytam Magini, and Barak Lufan. (Courtesy)

Tuesday’s demolition was carried out after an appeal on behalf of Hazem’s neighbors was denied by Israel’s High Court.

The operation came during a time of rising violence in the West Bank.

On Sunday, seven people were wounded when three Palestinians opened fire at a bus carrying soldiers, including the civilian driver who was seriously injured. Six troops were left with non-life-threatening injuries. Two of the gunmen were captured and a third escaped.

In a separate attack later that day, four soldiers were hurt when Palestinians opened fire at a military post in the central West Bank.

Ra’ad Hazem, 29, from the Jenin area, the terrorist who carried out a deadly shooting at a Tel Aviv bar on April 7 2022. (Courtesy)

Tensions have escalated as Israeli security forces stepped up arrest raids in an operation launched following a deadly wave of terror attacks that left 19 people dead earlier this year, including the Tel Aviv shooting.

In raids across the West Bank overnight, troops arrested 10 wanted Palestinians, the IDF said Tuesday morning.

Soldiers also searched the homes of the gunmen who committed Sunday’s attack in the Jordan Valley, in the town of Jiftlik. “The forces located weapons and logistical equipment,” the IDF said.

Military chief Aviv Kohavi on Monday slammed the Palestinian Authority for its inability to govern areas in the northern West Bank, where troops have repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids, during the months-long operation aimed at preventing Palestinian terrorists from committing attacks.

More than 1,500 suspects have been detained since the start of the operation, according to Kohavi.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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