Israel demolishes homes of Palestinian killers

AP News
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Posted: Nov 14, 2015 2:07 PM
Israel demolishes homes of Palestinian killers

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military on Saturday demolished the West Bank homes of four Palestinians who carried out deadly attacks against Israelis.

The military carried out the demolition orders after clearance from the supreme court. It said the three homes in Nablus belonged to attackers who killed an Israeli couple in front of their children in the West Bank on Oct. 1. It said the other home, near Ramallah, belonged to a man who killed an Israeli on his way home from a basketball game.

Israel has renewed a home demolition tactic that it says is a legal and effective tool to deter attacks. Critics say the tactic amounts to collective punishment.

"Even if they demolish it, we don't care. We are proud of what they did," said Mahmoud Kussa, the brother of one of the Palestinian attackers.

In the last two months Palestinians have killed 14 Israelis, mainly in stabbing attacks, while 81 Palestinians have been killed, including 51 said by Israel to have been involved in assaults. The rest died in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank.

On Friday, a Palestinian gunman ambushed an Israeli family in the West Bank, killing a father and his son, while clashes with Israeli security forces in the territory killed two Palestinians.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, praised the attack but stopped short of claiming responsibility for it. Since mid-September, most of the Palestinian attacks have been stabbings, targeting seemingly random pedestrians or people passing by, but Friday's attack appeared to be more carefully planned and executed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it appeared that a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance passed by the family and refrained from providing medical assistance. He said it ran contrary to "any human norm" and instructed the foreign ministry to file a harsh protest to the Red Cross, which oversees the Red Crescent.

The current round of bloodshed was triggered by unrest at a major Jerusalem shrine revered by Muslims and Jews, and quickly spread to Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza border.

Israel has accused Palestinian political and religious leaders of inciting the unrest. Palestinians say the violence is rooted in decades of military occupation and dwindling hopes for an independent state.