Demolition followed immediately after residents were forced to evacuate the premises, leaving the Hamas resistance fighter by himself on Monday morning, Aljazeera.net can reveal.

Fifteen jeeps then surrounded the building and two tanks proceeded to pound it with rockets and shells.

Evicted residents said the fighter returned small arms fire for a short time.

His unidentified body was later recovered from under the rubble after a bulldozer was used to destroy the home.
 
Collective punishment

The owner of the demolished home, Akram Shahin, is a teacher who told Aljazeera.net that he had no connections with the Israeli occupation resistance movement Hamas at all.

However, a military spokesman shrugged off any criticism and said: "The Hamas man would not come out of the house so we had to destroy it - it was the safest thing to do."

He added that Shahin could "sue the Ministry of Defence if he wants to be compensated."

Neighbours said soldiers did not even allow the family to remove belongings from their house before it was levelled, even when the fighter had been killed.
 
“They herded all family members out at gunpoint, then they started bombarding the home. They wouldn’t allow them to remove anything from inside the house,” said neighbour Anwar Qasrawi.

Pursue

Israeli forces regularly raze
homes in search of activists

Israel has turned down calls for a renewed ceasefire from Palestinian Authority officials, saying it will pursue members of Hamas.

It has stepped up demolition of Palestinian homes and multi-storey apartment buildings throughout the West Bank whenever a suspected resistance fighter is thought to have taken cover inside the structure.
 
Last week, the Israeli army demolished and levelled to the ground a  seven-storey building in downtown Hebron after two resistance activists barricaded themselves on the rooftops.
 
Another seven-storey apartment building in Nablus was demolished, leaving two dozen families homeless.

Elsewhere in Nablus, a Palestinian teenager who was shot by Israeli troops last year died of his wound on Monday.

Sadi Mansur, who was already deaf and mute, was playing with a plastic gun during celebrations for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holidays marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Also, Israeli soldiers arrested four members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, said security sources.

And in the West Bank city of Jenin, occupation forces launched an invasion backed by tanks and demolished homes.

An Israeli helicopter fired air-to-ground missiles at a home, inflicting heavy damage.