And several Palestinians were injured as Israeli troops cleared the area firing rubber-coated bullets and teargas.

The Israeli occupation army on Tuesday dynamited the home of Mahmud Nasir Hamdan, a 21-year-old Islamic Jihad activist who shot dead two Jewish settlers at a nearby settlement three days ago.

Hamdan was killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the attack.

Herded into trucks

Residents at the hamlet of Tabaka, 18km south-west of Hebron, said when Israeli troops arrived, they herded Hamdan’s mother and five sisters into an army lorries and took them to an unknown destination.

Minutes later, soldiers dynamited their home, inflicting extensive damage to neighbouring villagers’ homes.

“I haven’t done anything to the Israelis. So why did they destroy my home?

Badawi Abu Zanuna,
villager

“I haven’t done anything to the Israelis. So why did they destroy my home?” asked Badawi Abu Zanuna, pointing his cane towards a window blown out by the explosion.

Another neighbour, afraid to give his name, said the destruction of homes would not deter Palestinians from resistance.

“If Israel thinks that by demolishing our homes we will stop our struggle for freedom, they are daydreaming. Israel will not enjoy a moment of peace as long as we aren't free,” he said.

Sympathisers attacked

Earlier, Israeli soldiers burnt down a large tent where Hamdan’s relatives were receiving sympathisers offering condolences for the resistance fighter’s death.

Residents said soldiers set fire to plastic chairs and other material, sending a huge cloud of black smoke over the village.

The soldiers reportedly shot stun and teargas grenades, rubber-coated bullets inside the tent, injuring several people.

Meanwhile, the nearby town of Dura remained cut off from the world after Israeli army bulldozers damaged or blocked roads to the town, home to 30,000 residents.

The local mayor, Muhammad Abu Atwan, described the Israeli measure as “barbaric” and “reflecting Zionist savagery”. He called for the international community to protect defenceless Palestinian civilians from Israeli aggression.

Over the past year, the Israeli army has demolished the homes of about 250 Palestinian radicals in the West Bank.

Israel says the practice is a deterrent but human rights groups describe it as collective punishment.