Hundreds of police officers entered the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem on Wednesday morning to demolish the home of a Palestinian gunman who killed an Israeli soldier at a nearby checkpoint last year, law enforcement officials said.
Udai Tamimi is accused of killing Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18, and seriously wounding a civilian guard on October 8, 2022, at a checkpoint near the camp. Tamimi fled the scene and was killed while attempting to commit another attack at a checkpoint near the entrance of the West Bank settlement city of Ma’aleh Adumim on October 19. One security guard was lightly hurt.
Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. 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.
Police in a statement Wednesday said 300 officers from the Jerusalem precinct, along with additional Border Police troops, military and Home Front Command forces, and Jerusalem municipality officials, were working in the camp to raze the home.
“This is an important activity to raise awareness, be a deterrent, and is moral. Every terrorist should know that the consequences of carrying out an attack and murdering civilians or members of the security forces will go beyond the effort to neutralize them,” said Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman.
“Unfortunately, we will not be able to return the soldier Noa Lazar, who died in the terror attack, but we must do whatever is necessary to close the circle with the terrorist,” Turgeman said. “This activity also conveys an important and significant message to anyone who would consider committing a terror attack in the future. We are committed to continuing to act on all levels and with all the tools at our disposal, for a determined and uncompromising fight against terrorists and terror for the security of the citizens of Israel.”
A joint police and IDF investigation into the attack pointed to a series of failures and shortcomings that led to Lazar’s death. Following the investigation, soldiers are now no longer stationed at the crossing and several police officers were fired, while others were censured.
The demolition is being carried out after appeals submitted on behalf of Tamimi were rejected.
The seizure and demolition order for Tamimi’s home was signed in December by the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo, as he is the relevant officer within Israeli territory, including East Jerusalem.
The condition of the seriously wounded guard in the attack, 30-year-old David Morel, has since improved and he was transferred to a rehabilitation center in November.
Tensions have soared in the West Bank as the IDF has pressed on with an anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of attacks that have left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022.
The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 18 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.
In arrest raids across the West Bank early Wednesday, the IDF said troops arrested 11 wanted Palestinians.