Israel demolishes homes of Palestinian attackers

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Jerusalem—Israeli authorities have demolished three homes and sealed off a fourth of Palestinians who carried out attacks that killed a soldier and a policewoman, the army said on Thursday.

Israel regularly carries out such demolitions, which it says act as a deterrent, but human rights groups and Palestinians say they punish families for the actions of relatives. Two houses were demolished in Deir Abu Mashaal, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and a third was sealed off, an army spokesperson said.

Village mayor Emad Zahran told AFP, Israeli soldiers entered the area around 2:00 am (2300 GMT Wednesday) with bulldozers. On June 16, three villagers carried out an attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City that killed a policewoman. According to police, two of the assailants opened fire at a group of officers who returned fire, and a third stabbed the border policewoman a short distance away before being shot.

All three attackers were killed. A home in the West Bank town of Silwad was also demolished in response to an April 6 car-ramming attack near the Jewish settlement of Ofra that killed an Israeli soldier. A wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015 has killed 293 Palestinians or Arab Israelis, 47 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP toll.

Israeli authorities say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip. The violence had greatly subsided but tension around the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem saw a spike in July.

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