Israeli forces demolish house of al-Aqsa attack suspect

Israeli army destroys family home of Omar al-Abed, who is accused of stabbing three Israelis to death last month.

Palestinians inspect the family house of Omar Al-Abed after it was demolished by Israeli authorities
Israeli demolitions have angered Palestinians across the occupied territories [AP]

Israeli soldiers have demolished the family house of a Palestinian man, who stabbed three Israelis to death last month over Israel’s crackdown on entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The destruction of the home on Wednesday took place in the village of Kobar in the occupied West Bank.

The move comes a day after Israel’s military prosecutor announced that the state would charge five family members of the 20-year-old alleged attacker, Omar al-Abed, who is currently in custody in Israel.

Israeli soldiers have arrested Abed’s father, mother and three brothers, according to villagers.

READ MORE: Israel demolishes two houses in occupied East Jerusalem

Israeli authorities arrested Abed’s mother, Ibtisam al-Abed last month for allegedly praising the attack, which the forces called ‘incitement to violence’; she was then released.

Residents said that army vehicles and bulldozers entered the area north of Ramallah at around 3am (00:00 GMT) and surrounded the two-storey house, one floor of which was still under construction.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Kobar, said many of the villagers tried to stop the soldiers from carrying out the demolition.

“The family knew that this is going to happen just a few days after the attack. They had received a demolition notice, so they had time to take out their belongings,” our correspondent said.

But now that it has been destroyed and confiscated, the family could no longer return to the property to rebuild their home, she said. 

The Israeli army said the attacker had spoken of al-Aqsa and of dying as a “martyr” in a Facebook post.

He was shot while carrying out the attack and later arrested.

‘Collective punishment’

Israel has been demolishing hundreds of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories since 1967 as a punitive measure.

“The latest Israeli move to demolish Palestinian houses is yet more proof that Israel is a rogue state and has no respect for international law,” Muslim Imran, a Palestinian activist, told Al Jazeera.

“By demolishing houses they think the Palestinian resistance will end, but it makes no sense. It’s our basic right to resist on our own soil by all legal means possible,” he added.

The policy of destroying family homes of alleged attackers is a violation of international humanitarian law prohibiting collective punishment, according to Human Rights Watch.

READ MORE: West Bank villagers decry collective punishment

Israeli officials justify demolitions by claiming the buildings are shelter for attackers. Medical sources in Ramallah said soldiers shot at Palestinians during the demolition, injuring at least 26, including journalist Mohammad Radi.

‘Execute Omar’s family’

Despite denunciation of the attack by Abed’s father, Israeli officials have called for harsher measures on families of suspects.

In a Facebook video posted in July, Israeli parliamentarian Oren Hazan said he would have executed Abed’s family.

Hazan is a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

While Abed was hospitalised, Hazan said:  “Let him [Abed] die, let him wallow in his own blood. They don’t have a right to live, they don’t have the right to even exist, and I hope that everyone will say that with me.”

On Monday Israeli forces demolished three Palestinian homes near Hebron.

With additional reporting by Yigit Mahmut 

Source: Al Jazeera