The Israeli army said Tuesday it had demolished the family home of a Palestinian man accused of killing two Israelis — a father and his son — at a car wash in the occupied West Bank.
Police arrested Osama Bani Fadl in November after a months-long hunt, accusing him of killing Shay Silas Nigrekar and Aviad Nir in the Palestinian town of Huwara in August.
- WHO denounces ‘destruction’ of Gaza hospital
- Putin says Gaza ‘catastrophe’ incomparable with Ukraine
The two Israeli men were gunned down when they were at a car wash, in an attack that rocked the territory at the time.
On Tuesday the Israeli army released footage of troops demolishing Bani Fadl’s apartment during the night in the town of Aqraba.
Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians it accuses of deadly attacks on Israelis, arguing such measures act as a deterrent.
Human rights activists say the policy amounts to collective punishment, as it can render non-combatants, including children, homeless.
A witness said troops stormed the town and surrounded Bank Fadl’s apartment before blowing it up during the night.
The army said it had “destroyed the apartment of the terrorist who carried out the attack in Huwara”.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that confrontations erupted between Palestinian youths and soldiers during the demolition.
“Soldiers fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters,” it said, adding that several people were arrested.
– Surge in violence –
Even before the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas broke out on October 7, violence had surged across the West Bank.
The area had seen a rise in attacks on Israelis as well as attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian communities.
Violence has further escalated there since the war in the Gaza Strip began, with more than 300 Palestinians killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces and settlers, according to the Ramallah-based Palestinian health ministry.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967 and, excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is now home to around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.
The deadliest ever war in Gaza began after Hamas militants poured across the border and launched an attack that left 1,139 people dead in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on the latest official Israeli figures.
Some 250 people were also abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip.
In Israel’s retaliatory campaign against Hamas, at least 19,453 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there.