Israel demolishes home of Palestinian tram stop attacker

The Guardian:

Israel security forces have destroyed the home of a Palestinian who last month ran over and killed two people at a Jerusalem tram stop, a day after two Palestinians killed four rabbis and a policeman in a frenzied assault at a synagogue in the city.

“The home of the terrorist, who killed an Israeli baby and a young woman on October 22 in a tram station in Jerusalem, was destroyed in Silwan,” an army statement said.

The home demolition came after two Palestinians armed with a gun and meat cleavers ran amok among worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday in the city’s bloodiest attack in years.

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, vowed a harsh response to the attack and pledged to speed up the demolitions of the homes in line with a policy announced this month.

“This evening, I ordered the destruction of the homes of the Palestinians who carried out this massacre and to speed up the demolitions of those who carried out previous attacks,” he said on Tuesday.

The policy of home demolitions, which was practised by Israel for decades, was halted in 2005 amid claims it was ineffective and counterproductive.

Demolitions, however, began again in August when the homes of several men involved in the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers were destroyed.

The home of Abdel-Rahman Shaloudi, 21, was blown up before dawn on Wednesday, police and the military said.

The East Jerusalem resident was shot dead by police in October as he tried to flee after mowing down commuters at a light railway stop.

The demolition happened as Jewish worshippers returned to the Jerusalem synagogue that was the scene of the horrific attack on Tuesday.

People sought comfort in prayer at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in the neighbourhood of Har Nof, which was attacked by two Palestinian cousins wielding meat cleavers, knives and a handgun. Those killed included four members of the congregation and an Israeli policeman trying to stop the attack. Israeli security forces killed both assailants in a subsequent shootout.

One of the worshippers, Gavriel Cohen, said on Wednesday that the attack showed “that our future in this world is dependent on God”.

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