Israeli forces demolished the West Bank home of a Palestinian terrorist who killed a rabbi and an IDF soldier in a shooting spree last month, the IDF announced Wednesday.
On March 17, Omar Abu Laila fatally stabbed Sgt. Gal Keidan at the Ariel Junction outside the West Bank settlement of the same name, grabbed the soldier’s gun and opened fire, hitting Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, before stealing his vehicle and fleeing the scene.
He then drove to the nearby Gitai junction, where he opened fire again, wounding soldier Alexander Dvorsky, before fleeing on foot into the nearby village of Burqin.
Keidan was declared dead at the scene and Ettinger, a father of 12, succumbed to his wounds a day later.
Abu Laila was killed in a shootout with troops near Ramallah later that week, following a several-day manhunt.
According to Palestinian reports, Abu Laila’s family was told to leave their home, near the West Bank town of Salfit, late Tuesday as troops moved in to carry out the demolition.
The family had been notified in late March that Israel planned to demolish the home.
Low level clashes broke out between troops and local rioters, according to unconfirmed reports.
Israel says the practice of demolishing terrorists’ homes is an effective means of discouraging future attacks, though it has been criticized by human rights groups as a form of collective punishment and by some analysts as an ineffective deterrent measure.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Ettinger’s family during a condolence visit that he would attempt to legislate the death penalty for terrorists in Israel, but acknowledged there were legal obstacles.
Although the death penalty formally exists in Israeli law, it has only ever been used once — in 1962 in the case of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust.
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