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Israeli forces destroy home of East Jerusalem car attack suspect

Nov. 19, 2014 9:42 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2014 11:26 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished the family home of the suspect in a Jerusalem car-ramming attack last month, witnesses said.

Dozens of Israeli troops raided the al-Bustan area of the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem and proceeded to explode the home of Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi.

The forces entered the area after midnight, surrounded the five-story building where the al-Shaludi family lives, and forced residents out of the building without allowing them to bring any of their possessions with them, witnesses said.

Troops also evacuated three houses near the building and held residents in a tent for over four hours.

They told residents to remove their cars from the area, before planting explosives in the al-Shaludi home and destroying it at around 3:45 a.m.

Locals of the al-Bustan neighborhood said that the whole building was damaged in addition to nearby houses.

Al-Shaludi was killed by Israeli police on Oct. 22, 2014 after he drove his vehicle into a group of pedestrians near the right rail in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah area.

The Israeli army confirmed the demolition in a statement.

"Tonight (army) and Israeli Police forces demolished the house of the terrorist responsible for running over Israeli civilians in a Jerusalem train station on October 22nd," the statement said.

"The terrorist ... is responsible for the deaths of a baby girl and a young woman, as well as the injuries of 5 other civilians."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered the demolition, as will as the demolition of the family homes of Palestinian suspects in other Jerusalem attacks.

Home demolitions have long been used as a deterrent punishment in the occupied West Bank but it is the first time that they have been adopted as a matter of policy in East Jerusalem.

The practice is condemned by human rights watchdogs as collective punishment that targets not perpetrators of attacks but their families.

"Punishing the families of suspects by destroying their homes is collective punishment and is prohibited by international law," Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

"Authorities must not trample over the rights of Palestinians through collective punishments and other heavy-handed measures in order to restore security," said the watchdog's Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions has repeatedly condemned Israel's policy of demolishing homes of suspects in nationalistic attacks.

"Between 2001-2005 ... 664 Palestinian homes were demolished as forms of punishment. Some 4,182 innocent people were displaced, many of them neighbors of the suspect's family, and this often on the basis of suspicion alone," ICAHD said in an August statement entitled "Revenge devoid of purpose."

"This policy of collective punishment without any due process of law is blatantly illegal on both counts," it said.

"'Punitive' demolitions (are) pointless and, indeed, counterproductive, even by Israel's own standards."

AFP contributed to this report.
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