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Israel demolishes home of suspected Palestinian bomber

Palestinian police inspect the damage to the West Bank apartment of Islam Faroukh, after Israeli troops demolished it following his indictment for twin bombings at Jerusalem bus stops that killed two Israelis last November
— Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Israeli troops on Thursday demolished the West Bank home of a Palestinian accused of carrying out twin bombings in Jerusalem last November that killed two Israelis, including a teenager.

The army used explosives to make the first floor apartment in Ramallah where Aslam Faroukh lived uninhabitable, an AFP journalist reported.

Faroukh was arrested in December and accused of carrying out the November 23 bombings at Jerusalem bus stops that killed a 15-year-old Israeli-Canadian and an Israeli in his 50s. They were the first bombings to have targeted Israeli civilians since 2016.

"The home was demolished after an appeal to the Supreme Court against the demolition was rejected," the army said in a statement.

Clashes erupted when troops entered Ramallah late Wednesday to carry out the demolition, an AFP correspondent reported, with Palestinians hurling rocks at Israeli military vehicles.

The Palestinian health ministry said that 35 people were wounded during the incursion.

The Israeli army said it had responded to "violent unrest" with "riot dispersal means".

"It was a long night, from 11 pm, (2000 GMT) until morning," said Um Mohammed Faroukh, a relative who lives in the area. "There was tear gas and young men were injured."

Moamen Sumreen, 22, a Palestinian journalist who was convering the Israeli raid, was seriously wounded after being hit in the head by a rubber bullet, his family told AFP.

His uncle Mohammed Sumreen, also a journalist, said they had been among a group of reporters watching events unfold from the roof of a nearby building.

"Throughout the coverage, the soldiers were shining laser lights on us, targeting us with gas bombs and firing live bullets in our direction," he said.

"Moamen wanted to change his position, he stood up and was directly hit by a bullet in the area under the ear," he said, noting that Sumreen was wearing a jacket marked "press" when he came under fire.

The Israeli army said that the incident was "under review".

Originally from Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, where he held an Israeli residency permit, Faroukh had lived in Ramallah for some years.

According to the army, he is alleged to have acted alone, "identifying with the Daesh (Islamic State group) organisation".

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

Faroukh's mother, Um Aslam, told AFP that the demolition would only "increase their hatred and (desire for) revenge".