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Israel orders demolition of slain Palestinian shooter's home in Jerusalem

Dec. 19, 2016 4:01 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 22, 2016 10:19 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court ordered on Monday the partial demolition of the home of Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed by Israeli forces in October after carrying out a deadly shooting attack in occupied East Jerusalem, despite the fact that Abu Sbeih’s widow and five children are still living in the house.

Abu Sbeih’s brother, Jabir Abu Sbeih, told Ma’an that the family had been informed by their lawyer of the court’s decision to demolish the slain Palestinian’s home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab.

Jabir Abu Sbeih added that the court ordered that the interior walls of the home be demolished, adding that Abu Sbeih’s widow and five children were living in the house.

Israel has dramatically increased their policy of punitive home demolitions since 2015 in an effort to “deter” attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals, despite past recommendations by an Israeli military committee that the practice did not deter attacks. 

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

Abu Sbeih, 39, killed an Israeli police officer and an Israeli woman, and injured at least five other people during a drive-by shooting attack in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on Oct. 9. He was then shot and killed by Israeli police on the scene.

The shooting attack came a day after Abu Sbeih told Ma'an that he intended to turn himself in to serve a prison sentence over charges that he assaulted an Israeli police officer in 2013.

Abu Sbeih had said that his decision to turn himself in came after being repeatedly harassed by Israeli police and detained five times over the span of two weeks.

Following the shooting, Israeli forces detained Abu Sbeih’s daughter, sons, father and brothers for several days, raided his family’s homes and took measurements in preparation for demolition.

Abu Sbeih’s body is still being held by Israeli authorities.

According to Ma'an documentation, the gunman was the 232nd Palestinian to be killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest in October 2015. Twelve Palestinians have since been killed, while 34 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in the more than year-long time period.

The violence has mostly been characterized by small-scale attacks with knives or similar weapons, however, a number of attempted and actual shooting attacks have targeted Israelis over the past year.

A total of 18 Palestinians have been killed while committing shooting attacks, while 16 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian gunmen during that time period.
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