Israeli forces demolish Palestinian attacker’s home in Kobar, shoot and injure journalist

11:30 Aug 15 2017 Kobar

Scene. Published by Maan News

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished on Wednesday morning a home in the central occupied West Bank village of Kobar belonging to the family of a Palestinian accused of killing three Israeli settlers in July.

Omar al-Abed, 19, is currently imprisoned by Israel after breaking into the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish on July 21 and carrying out a deadly stabbing attack. He was shot and moderately wounded by a neighbor of the victims and subsequently detained following the attack, although Israeli media has reported that he has not yet been charged.

Locals told Ma'an that large numbers of Israeli troops stormed Kobar, which has been sealed by Israeli forces since the attack, early on Wednesday and surrounded the al-Abed’s home as excavators tore the building down.

The second floor in the building was completely destroyed, while the first floor was partially torn down.

Violent clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces during the demolition, when Israeli soldiers posted leaflets in the streets of Kobar threatening residents with similar punishment should they attempt to carry out attacks against Israelis.

Palestinian Red Crescent medics told Ma’an that 12 Palestinians, including Palestine TV photojournalist Muhammad Radi, were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets during the clashes.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Radi was shot in the face at close range.

Thirteen other Palestinians were treated for excessive tear gas inhalation.
Three people were evacuated to the Palestine Medical Complex while another was taken to the Istishari Arab hospital for treatment in Ramallah City.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers used "crowd control means," including rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas, against Palestinian youths who they said were burning tires and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces.

The spokesperson added that the army could only confirm that one Palestinian was injured, although they had no further information on whether the wounded was a journalist.

The demolition comes after Israel detained five of al-Abed’s relatives -- his father Abd al-Jalil, his mother Ibtisam, his brothers Munir and Khalid, and his uncle Ibrahim -- and was reportedly planning to charge them with having prior knowledge of the young man’s plan to carry out an attack without trying to stop him.

Israeli forces detained Ibtisam al-Abed on Sunday, two weeks after she was last released from Israeli prison after Israeli forces detained her for a week following the deadly attack.

Ibtisam was detained by Israeli forces for the first time last month over accusations of "aggravated incitement" due to a video in which she allegedly praised her son's actions, saying she was proud of him and hoped for his release.

Some Israeli ministers have demanded that al-Abed be executed for the killings, despite Israel having only officially carried out the death penalty once since the state was established almost 70 years ago. The man executed at the time was Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi war criminal who played a major role in organizing the Holocaust.

The Times of Israel quoted Michal Salomon, a relative of the three slain Israelis, on Wednesday as calling for the death penalty to be applied to al-Abed.

“We need the death penalty so that these terrorists will not be able to build a new home, and if not the death penalty, then we need to seriously toughen their imprisonment conditions and withhold from them everything but the minimum,” Salomon said.

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.

While Israeli authorities have argued that punitive home demolitions serve as a deterrent against further attacks, Palestinians have argued that the widespread use of such a policy only against Palestinians, and not against Israelis who have committed attacks against Palestinians, has only fueled more anger against the decades-long Israeli occupation.
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