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Israeli forces demolish homes of 2 Palestinian attackers in Jerusalem

Jan. 4, 2016 11:39 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 4, 2016 6:36 P.M.)
Israeli police patrol a street in Jabal al-Mukabbir, a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem. (AFP/File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Monday demolished the family home of a Palestinian attacker killed in October and sealed off the home of another attacker's family with cement, the families told Ma'an.

The homes, in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem, belonged to relatives of Alaa Abu Jamal and Baha Elayyan who were both shot dead on Oct. 13 after carrying out separate attacks that left four Israelis dead.

Israeli forces reportedly stormed the homes and ordered the families to evacuate them before they proceeded with the demolitions.

Abu Jamal's family told Ma'an that Israeli forces sealed with cement the home of Safa Abu Jamal, Alaa's sister, after claiming to have secret information that it belonged to her slain brother.

The home consisted of one floor and three apartments, and was lived in by Safa, her husband, and their two children, the family said.

They added that Israeli authorities had earlier decided not to demolish the home after ruling that it belonged to Safa and not to her brother, Alaa.

Meanwhile, the father of Baha Elayyan told Ma'an that his family had been ordered to evacuate his home while Israeli forces demolished its interior walls.

The home is an apartment on the second floor of a three-story building, measuring 130 square meters and currently housing eight family members.

Punitive home demolitions were expedited at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in mid-October, and many have been carried out since.

The move came despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice does not deter attacks.

While families who receive demolition orders are given the opportunity to appeal the measures, Israel’s High Court of Justice typically rejects such appeals, according to Israeli watchdog Hamoked.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem condemned the practice in October as "court sanctioned revenge," carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment.

The Israeli authorities have been holding the bodies of Alaa Abu Jamal and Baha Elayyan since they were shot dead in another controversial Israeli practice that has been seen by some as further raising tensions.

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