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Israel razes West Bank homes of Palestinians

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Israeli forces have razed the southern West Bank homes of two Palestinian men accused of shooting dead four Israelis at a popular Tel Aviv nightspot in early June, Palestinian sources have told Al Jazeera.

Mohammad Makhamrah, 22, and his cousin Khaled Makhamrah, 21, were charged last month for murder, conspiring to murder and attempted murder, along with a third suspect who allegedly provided them with guns ahead of the attack at the Sarona market, an area with restaurants and cafes.

The Israeli army also said on Thursday that forces had demolished the cousins’ houses in Yatta, south of Hebron.

“Overnight in accordance with government directives security forces demolished the residences of the two terrorists who carried out the terror attack at the Sarona market on June 8, killing four civilians and wounding several more,” a military spokeswoman said.

The house of Khaled Makhamrah was demolished by an Israeli army bulldozer, while his cousin’s house was destroyed using explosives, Palestinian sources said.

The two cousins were apprehended at the scene of the attack and have been in prison since then.

‘Collective punishment’

Israel routinely demolishes homes of Palestinian assailants in what it says is a means to deter further attacks.

But Palestinian leaders and rights groups criticise the tactic, saying it amounts to “collective punishment”.

Violence in the Palestinian territories and Israel since October has killed at least 231 Palestinians, 36 Israelis and three other foreign nationals.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

Many of the assailants were young people, including teenagers. Other youths have been shot dead during protests and clashes with security forces.

Palestinians are frustrated by Israel’s decades-long occupation and with peace talks going nowhere.

[Source: Al Jazeera and agencies]


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