Israel razes Palestinian suspect’s home in deadly shootings

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel yesterday razed the home of a Palestinian accused of shooting dead two soldiers in the West Bank and aiding another attack that caused a baby’s death, the army said.

A military statement said that troops, border police and Defence Ministry officials “demolished the residence of Assam Barghouti in Kobar, north of Ramallah”, in the Israeli-occupied territory.

Barghouti is accused of shooting the soldiers at a bus stop near the Givat Assaf settlement in the Ramallah area on December 13 last year.

At least two other people – including another soldier – were wounded, the army said at the time.

Israel’s Domestic Security Service, the Shin Bet, has also accused him of involvement along with his brother in another shooting attack nearby, close to the Ofra settlement, that caused the death of a baby and wounded seven.

In the December 9 shooting last year, a pregnant woman was seriously wounded and her baby was born prematurely by emergency caesarean and later died.

The mother of Palestinian Assam Barghouti, accused by Israel of shooting dead two soldiers in the West Bank and aiding another attack that caused a baby’s death, checks the rubble of their family house after it was demolished by Israeli forces in the village of Kobar near Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank yesterday. – AFP

Barghouti’s brother, Salah, 29, was killed during an arrest raid on December 12 last year.

The armed wing of Palestinian militant movement Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, has claimed Salah Barghouti as one of its “fighters”.

In a statement following Assam Barghouti’s arrest, last month Hamas praised him and the Palestinian “resistance” without claiming him as a member.

Assaf Barghouti was arrested at the home of an alleged accomplice near Ramallah and was allegedly preparing more attacks, the Shin Bet said.

A Kalashnikov assault rifle, night-vision equipment and ammunition were seized during his arrest, according to the Shin Bet.

Israel regularly razes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis.

Rights groups criticise the practice as collective punishment since family members suffer from the actions of relatives.

“It is carried out without trial and without any requirement to present evidence,” said the B’Tselem organization.