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Israeli army demolishes family homes of settler killing suspects

Yusef Aasi and Yehya Miri are currently in Israeli custody and have yet to face trial for the charges
Grandfather of Palestinian detainee Yehya Miri reacts after Israeli forces demolished their family home in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan in the Israeli-occupied West Bank 26 July 2022 (AFP)

Israeli military bulldozers on Tuesday demolished the homes of two Palestinians accused of killing a settler in April, according to Israeli and Palestinian media.

The homes are in the village of Qarawat Bani Hasan, in the northern occupied West Bank. 

They belong to the families of Yusef Aasi and Yehya Miri, two Palestinian men in their 20s who the army said are guilty of perpetrating "a deadly shooting attack at the entrance to the city of Ariel, murdering the Israeli security guard Vyacheslav Golev".

Ariel is one of the largest illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian lands.

Both men have been in Israeli custody since 29 April and have not yet faced any trial before an Israeli military court.

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Translation: The moment the occupation forces bombed the house of Yehya Miri in the village of Qarawat Bani Hasan.

Eyewitnesses told local media on Tuesday that Israeli military vehicles stormed the town and closed its entrances, imposing a security cordon on the neighbourhoods in which the houses were located.

Residents of a number of adjacent homes were forced to evacuate as snipers were deployed on their roofs.

Meanwhile, Palestinian residents of the area confronted Israeli forces, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at them and closed the side roads to obstruct their progress, while the Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters, which led to a number of casualties among Palestinians.

Israel has demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes as part of this punishment policy since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967. According to the Israeli human rights group Btselem, demolishing the homes of Palestinians who are related to suspected attackers is a form of collective punishment.

“In almost all cases, the individual who carried out the attack or planned to do so no longer lives in the house, as they were killed by Israeli security forces during the attack or were arrested and face a long prison sentence in Israel,” the organisation said in a report.

Golev, an Israeli settlement security guard, was killed in a drive-by shooting on 29 April. The 23-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene due to gunshot wounds. 

CCTV footage showed a car approaching a security booth near the entrance of Ariel settlement before two men stepped out and fired at two guards inside it, killing one of them. The other guard was unharmed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said at the time. The shooters managed to flee the scene.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 200 settlements and outposts, deemed illegal under international law, across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

At least 20 Palestinians were fatally shot by Israeli forces in the West Bank in April.

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