IDF issues demolition order for home of gunman accused of killing soldier last year

The Israeli Defense Forces on Tuesday night informed the family of a Palestinian gunman accused of killing a soldier in the West Bank last year that the army intends to demolish their home in the city of Nablus.

On October 11, 2022, Abdel Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel, members of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group, opened fire on Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch from the reconnaissance unit of the Givati ​​infantry brigade, being killed. The gunmen shot Baruch as they approached a march by settlers near the Palestinian town of Sebastia. It was located near a junction close to the nearby Shavei Shomron settlement.

Both were arrested on February 13, and a third member of the cell who allegedly helped plan the attack was killed in a raid on Nablus a week later.

In late February, the IDF said that troops had measured the houses of Jouri and Taweel, the first step before their possible demolition.

On Tuesday night, only Taweel’s family was informed of the army’s intention to destroy their home in Ramallah, the IDF said.

It was not clear why Jouri’s residence was not also to be demolished at this time.

Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, was killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank on October 11, 2022, in an undated photo released by the military. (Defense Forces of Ireland)

As a matter of policy, Israel routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terrorist attacks. The policy’s effectiveness has been hotly debated even within Israel’s security establishment, and human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.

Taweel’s family can still appeal the decision to raid the house to Israel’s High Court of Justice. But such efforts are rarely successful, but in some cases the court can limit the demolition order to the parts of the house used only by the aggressor.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting almost nightly raids on the West Bank amid a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Palestine. Those tensions have escalated in recent weeks, with a cycle of deadly Israeli raids and Palestinian attacks, as well as an increase in settler violence.

Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 Israelis dead and many more injured.

At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them in attacks or during clashes with security forces, although some were unrelated civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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