Israeli troops on Thursday razed the home of a suspected Palestinian terrorist accused of carrying out two deadly West Bank shooting attacks in December, the military said.
In a predawn operation, Israeli security forces entered the West Bank town of Kobar, near Ramallah, and used a backhoe to demolish the two-story home of Asem Barghouti.
Barghouti was arrested in January and accused of carrying out a shooting attack on a bus stop near the outpost of Givat Assaf on December 13 and of assisting his brother Salih in a shooting attack on a bus stop near the Ofra settlement on December 9.
Two soldiers, Sgt. Yosef Cohen and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, were killed in the Givat Assaf attack. Another soldier, Israeli-American Netanel Felber, was seriously injured and Shira Sabag, a civilian woman was also hurt in the shooting.
Seven people were injured in the Ofra attack, including a seven-months pregnant woman who was seriously wounded and whose baby died several days later after doctors were forced to deliver it prematurely due to her injuries.
“This morning, soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces working with the Border Police and Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, demolished the home in which the terrorist Asem Barghouti lived in the village of Kobar,” the army said in a statement.
Salih, also from Kobar, was killed by Israeli troops during his attempted arrest on December 12.
The demolition comes days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israeli authorities to step up efforts to raze the homes of the terrorists, after taking heat from the right over a lack of action.
“I gave an instruction to speed up the demolition of these homes within the parameters of the legal system,” he said Monday.
Barghouti’s arrest followed a nearly month-long manhunt.
On January 20, the military notified Barghouti’s family of its plans to destroy his home in Kobar. The family appealed the decision to the High Court of Justice, but the judges upheld the IDF’s plan to demolish the house.
In addition, the IDF in February said it informed the Barghouti family of its intention to demolish the apartment where Asem’s late brother Salih lived.
Though controversial, Israeli authorities defend home demolitions as a deterrent against future terror attacks. Critics say the move amounts to collective punishment and is ineffective.