Israel razes homes of 2 Palestinian assailants shot dead

QALANDIA, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: Israeli forces demolished the West Bank homes of two Palestinian knifemen whose December attack led to the death of two Israelis, including one by friendly fire, the army said on Monday.


The overnight demolitions took place in the Qalandia refugee camp, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, with four Palestinians wounded in ensuing clashes, an AFP reporter said.

A military spokesperson said the forces had razed the homes of Issa Assaf and Annan Hammed, who were shot dead during a December 23 attack near Jerusalem’s Old City.

“Armed with knives, the two assailants stabbed pedestrians at the scene, brutally killing rabbi Reuven Birmajer and wounding a civilian,” the spokeswoman said. “In addition, Ofer Ben Ari was killed” by security forces who shot Assaf and Hammed dead.

“During the demolition, multiple violent riots erupted,” with Palestinians throwing rocks and opening fire, the spokesperson said. Israeli forces eventually opened fire at “main instigators,” she said.

Four Palestinians were lightly wounded in the clashes, according to an AFP reporter.

Israel routinely demolishes homes of Palestinian assailants in what it says is a means to deter further attacks. Rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment, with families forced to suffer for the acts of relatives.

A wave of violence since October has killed at least 214 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, Israeli authorities say.



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