Israeli officer injured by gunfire during demolition of alleged terrorist’s home

Palestinian rioters hurl explosives, open fire at soldiers who converge on Jenin home of Ahmed Kunba, charged as an accomplice in rabbi’s murder

Michael Bachner is a news editor at The Times of Israel

A Border Police officer was lightly wounded early Tuesday when Palestinians opened fire on security forces who entered Jenin to demolish the home of an alleged terrorist, the IDF said.

IDF soldiers and Border Police successfully demolished the home of Ahmed Kunba, who has been charged as an accomplice in the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach near the West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad earlier this year

Palestinians also hurled explosive devices and stones at the forces after they entered the northern part of the West Bank city with a bulldozer to carry out the demolition, the military said in a statement.

The wounded female officer was taken to a hospital for treatment, the statement said.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach (c) with his family, in an undated photo (Courtesy of the family)

Shevach, a father of six, was murdered by Ahmad Nassar Jarrar on January 9 in a drive-by shooting, as he traveled down the highway outside the Havat Gilad illegal outpost where he lived.

Kunba was charged with attempted murder earlier this month for his alleged role in the attack.

He was also accused of plotting and carrying out several other security offenses along with Jarrar. According to the charge sheet, among several attempted attacks against Israeli civilians or soldiers, the two opened fire on a bus, and unsuccessfully attempted to infiltrate the settlement of Dotan.

Kunba’s lawyer, Fadi Qawasameh, told the court that his client’s testimony was obtained by Israeli authorities under duress, and should be invalidated.

Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, 22, head of the terror cell who shot dead Rabbi Raziel Shevach in the West Bank on January 9. (Twitter)

Jarrar escaped after the attack, but was killed in a shootout with IDF troops outside Jenin less than a month later.

According to the Shin Bet, troops from the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet and Israel Police’s Special Patrol Unit arrived at the building where Jarrar was hiding in the village of Yamoun, near Jenin, on February 6, following a “determined and complicated intelligence and operational effort.”

When Jarrar, 22, exited the building, he was armed with an M-16 assault rifle and a bag of explosives, prompting the Israeli troops to open fire and kill him, the Shin Bet said.

A Palestinian terrorist’s home after it was demolished by the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank city of Jenin on April 24, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel made frequent use of home demolitions until 2005, when the government decided to stop employing the measure. However, in 2014, it was brought back into use.

There is a dispute among security analysts and officials over the utility of home demolitions in combating terrorism, with some seeing it as an effective deterrent against terror attacks and others as an ineffective form of collective punishment.

Tamar Pileggi contributed to this report.

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