Troops raze home of Palestinian terror suspect in killing of teen

Palestinian media reports IDF destroys Hebron home of Arafat Irfaiya, charged in the rape and murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher in February

Israeli troops reportedly razed Friday the West Bank home of a Palestinian accused of raping and killing an Israeli teen in a Jerusalem forest for nationalistic reasons earlier this year.

According to Palestinian reports, troops surrounded and destroyed the Hebron home of Arafat Irfaiya, charged in the February murder of Ori Ansbacher.

The military confirmed the home demolition.

The High Court of Justice earlier this month green-lighted a state request to destroy two apartments used by Irfaiya, one of which was also used by his parents.

Police escort Arafat Irfaiya , charged with the murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court, on February 11, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Palestinian Quds News reported that troops destroyed a third-story apartment in Hebron that belonged to Irfaiya.

Pictures published on social media overnight showed heavy machinery, including a bulldozer and front-loader, being brought into Hebron.

Low-level clashes between troops and local Palestinians broke out during the operation, according to some reports.

Prosecutors have charged Irfaiya, a 29, with rape and murder in the context of a terrorist act, for killing 19-year-old Ansbacher, from the settlement of Tekoa, on February 7.

According to last month’s indictment, Irfaiya entered Israel from the West Bank illegally in early February and was armed with a knife.

“He came across Ansbacher and decided to kill her because she was Jewish,” the charge sheet said. “He attacked Ori with violent cruelty, and though she tried to fight him off, he overpowered her. He stabbed her with a knife multiple times throughout her body, causing her death.”

Ori Ansbacher, who was murdered in Jerusalem February 7, 2019 (Courtesy)

On the day of the killing, Ansbacher, who was a volunteer at a youth center in the capital, went for a walk in the woodland of Ein Yael to the south of Jerusalem, encountering Irfaiya by chance.

Prosecutors says DNA evidence and Irfaiya’s own testimony implicate him in the crime. He is awaiting trial.

The case sparked outrage across the country and prompted the government to approve implementing a law under which Israel would deduct from tax revenues it collects on behalf of Palestinians the amount that the Palestinian Authority pays out to Palestinian attackers and their families.

Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Zion Square in Jerusalem, on February 9, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The demolition comes days after the army razed the home of Salih Barghouti, who officials say carried out a shooting attack on a West Bank bus stop  on December 12. He was killed after a manhunt days later.

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.

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