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Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Israel’s army said Tuesday it demolished the home of a Palestinian accused of killing a soldier and his brother in the occupied West Bank, which has seen months of violence.

Clashes occurred during the overnight incursion to destroy the residence of Abdel Fatah Khroushah in the Askar camp for Palestinian refugees, in the northern city of Nablus, the military said.

The army said “explosive devices were hurled, and live fire was shot at the forces, who responded with riot dispersal means.”

Witnesses told an AFP journalist that soldiers had clashed with Palestinians, some of them armed, as troops entered the city.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said six Palestinians were wounded, including one by live ammunition.

The medical organization said Israeli forces directly targeted one of its ambulances with rubber bullets and tear gas.

The army had accused Khroushah of shooting dead two Israeli settlers — Halel Menachem Yaniv and his brother Yagel Yaakov Yaniv — in February as they drove through the West Bank town of Huwara.

Israeli forces killed Khroushah, 49, during a raid the following month.

After the military blew up his residence, smoke billowed across the densely populated neighbourhood and neighbours inspected the damage.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians it accuses of deadly attacks on Israelis, arguing such measures act as a deterrent.

Human rights activists say the policy amounts to collective punishment, as it can render non-combatants, including children, homeless.

Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said such measures had proved to be a “failure” in the past.

They would instead “push our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem to escalate the resistance”, the group said in a statement.

Since early last year, deadly violence has rocked the northern West Bank, a stronghold of Palestinian armed groups where Israel has stepped up military raids often in crowded neighborhoods.

The area has seen a spate of attacks on Israelis as well as attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian communities.

Violence this year linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has killed at least 212 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967.

Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is home to nearly three million Palestinians and around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

©️ Agence France-Presse

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