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In video - Israel blows up Abu Hmeid family home in Ramallah

Dec. 15, 2018 11:39 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 17, 2018 1:41 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Israeli army blew up the home of the Abu Hmeid family, in the al-Amaari refugee camp south of Ramallah City, in the central occupied West Bank, after surrounding it for more than 5 hours.

More than 56 Palestinians were injured during clashes that erupted with Israeli soldiers around the building, as dozens of activists and supporters had gathered for a vigil to prevent the demolition of the family's building.

The Israeli court had given the army the green light to demolish the building as a form of collective punishment, as Israel accuses one of the family's sons, Islam, of having killed an Israeli soldier during an Israeli raid to the refugee camp.

Some 500 Israeli soldiers raided Ramallah City after midnight Friday, surrounded the Abu Hmeid family building in al-Amaari and forcefully evacuated the family and activists protesting inside the building.

Israeli soldiers assaulted family members and protesters by beating and firing tear-gas bombs at them.

Israeli forces also evacuated all neighboring homes under the cold weather, estimated to be around 400 women, children and men of all ages, including a pregnant woman who was in labor, and kept them in a nearby open football field.

The Palestinian Red Crescent was then able to evacuate the pregnant woman to a hospital in Ramallah.

The Red Crescent provided those evacuated in the field with covers, water and food and was able to evacuate most of the women and children to a nearby Red Crescent building, while some 150 people remained at the football field.

Israeli forces blew up the family home at around 7:00 a.m. after hours of filling it up with explosives. However, as the first explosion only blew up the internal walls of the building, Israeli forces filled up the building with explosives one more time and carried out another explosion at around 9:20 a.m.

Armed clashes erupted between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians near the building afterwards, while Palestinian protesters and activists clashed with Israeli soldiers in other parts of the refugee camp.

Six Palestinian protesters were injured with live bullets in the legs.

Israeli forces detained more than 100 protesters, assaulted journalists and suppressed them using tear-gas bombs, injuring three of them.

Israel had taken the building's measurements, in preparation for its demolition, in October.
Abu Hmeid's son, Islam, was detained by Israeli forces in June and charged with stone throwing and accused of killing an Israeli soldier during clashes in which he threw a stone on an Israeli soldier, later killing the soldier.

Abu Hmeid's other four sons, Nasser, 37, Nasr, 35, Sharif, 29, and Muhammad, 24, are currently serving multiple life terms in Israeli prisons for resisting Israeli forces during raids or clashes; Abu Hmeid's sixth son, Abed al-Munim was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the Qalandiya refugee camp in 2002.

Israel had previously demolished the Abu Hmeid house twice, in 1994 and 2003. Five of the family members, not including Islam, are serving time in prison for resisting the Israeli occupation, four sentenced to multiple life terms, and another son was killed during a military operation against the Israeli occupation forces.

Israel always demolishes family homes of Palestinians, who were involved in attacking Israelis as part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people.

Israel has come under harsh condemnation over the past several years for its response to attacks committed by Palestinians on Israelis, which rights groups have said amounted to "collective punishment" on family members and entire communities in a clear violation of international law.

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