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Israel razes homes of alleged Palestinian attackers

Smoke billows over the West Bank village of Hares as Israeli troops demolish the home of a Palestinian accused of killing three Israelis in a car-ramming and stabbing attack last year
— Hares (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Israeli troops carried out demolitions Wednesday of the homes of two Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly attacks on Israelis in the occupied West Bank last year.

The army said the demolitions targeted the homes of Mohammed Souf, 18, accused of a "car-ramming and stabbing attack" which killed three Israelis last November, and Younis Hilan, accused of fatally stabbing an Israeli the previous month.

Souf's uncle, Mostafa, denounced the demolitions as "collective punishment".

"This is the occupation's policy which we, as Palestinians, are familiar with and used to. We were sure this would happen, because we have been through collective punishment before," he told AFP.

Hilan's father Jalal stressed that the stabbing carried out by his son in the Palestinian village of Al-Funduq, west of the city of Nablus, "wasn't my fault".

He said he had expected the army to raze only the one floor of the family home in which his son had lived, but complained they had demolished another floor too.

The army said that during the demolition of Hilan's home "suspects hurled rocks and rolled burning tyres at the soldiers."

Israel, which has occupied the West Bank since 1967, routinely demolishes the homes of individuals it blames for attacks on Israelis.

Human rights activists say the policy amounts to collective punishment, as it can render non-combatants, including children, homeless.

But Israel says the practice is effective in deterring some Palestinians from carrying out attacks.