The Israeli military on Monday informed the relatives of a Palestinian terrorist that their home in the northern West Bank village of Rummanah is slated for demolition.
On May 5, As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, 19, and Subhi Emad Sbeihat, 20, allegedly hacked three people to death with an axe and severely wounded several others in the central Israeli city of Elad. A knife was also believed to have been used in the attack. The pair was arrested in a forested area about a kilometer from the scene of the attack, after a 60-hour manhunt.
Al-Rifa’i’s family has been given the chance to appeal the demolition order. Appeal attempts rarely succeed, though in some cases, the court can limit the demolition order to only the parts of the house used by the terrorist.
The family of the second terrorist, Sbeihat, will receive a similar notice in the coming days. The Israel Defense Forces mapped out both Rummanah homes shortly after the men were arrested.
Al-Rifa’i confessed to security forces that he committed the axe attack with Sbeihat, killing Oren Ben Yiftah, a 35-year-old driver from Lod, and Elad residents Yonatan Havakuk and Boaz Gol, both in their 40s.
Over the course of the manhunt, troops followed bloodstains believed to have been from injuries the pair sustained during the attack. Several of the victims fought with the terrorists, according to medical and security officials.
An axe apparently used in the attack was located near where the pair were arrested.
Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated, even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.
Tensions have risen sharply between Israel and the Palestinians in recent months against the backdrop of repeated terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank that have left 19 dead.
The Israeli army stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence. The ensuing raids sparked clashes that left at least 30 Palestinians dead since mid-March.
Many were gunmen involved in firefights with Israeli soldiers or who took part in violent clashes. Others were apparently uninvolved bystanders, such as Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed in disputed circumstances during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen two weeks ago in Jenin, sparking an international outcry.