Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Israel destroys family apartments of accused Palestinian killer

Clashes broke out between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces during the operation in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron

The father of Arafat Irfaiya, a 29-year-old Palestinian accused of killing a young Israeli woman last February stands inside the damaged family home after Israeli army buldoser destroyed it in the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Hebron, on April 19, 2019. AFP
The father of Arafat Irfaiya, a 29-year-old Palestinian accused of killing a young Israeli woman last February stands inside the damaged family home after Israeli army buldoser destroyed it in the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Hebron, on April 19, 2019. AFP

The Israeli military destroyed two apartments in the occupied West Bank on Friday that housed the family of a Palestinian accused of killing an Israeli woman in February, it said.

Soldiers surrounded the apartment block in the flashpoint southern city of Hebron beginning late on Thursday.

They then destroyed the two apartments that were home to the family of Arafat Irfaiya, 29, with the use of heavy construction equipment in the early hours of the morning.

The demolitions were approved by Israel’s High Court of Justice.

Some clashes broke out between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces during the operation.

The murder of Ori Ansbacher, 19, reportedly raped and stabbed multiple times, triggered anger in Israel.

Her body was found on February 7 in a forest southeast of Jerusalem and Irfaiya was arrested two days later in a raid in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

“He came across Ansbacher and decided to kill her because she was Jewish,” the indictment against him last month said.

Israeli authorities labelled it a "nationalist" attack, meaning linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In response, Israel passed a law that meant it would withhold tax revenues for the Palestinians to the sum of what the Palestinian Authority, the body that operates limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, pays to families of attackers.

Israel routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of attacks on Israelis as part of a policy it says discourages future violence.

But human rights groups and Palestinians say the practice amounts to collective punishment, with family members forced to pay for the acts of a relative.

Updated: April 19, 2019 12:54 PM

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