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Israel to demolish family home of alleged Palestinian attacker

Omar Alabed killed three Israeli settlers in Neve Tsuf, West Bank [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 July, 2017

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Israel vowed to demolish the home of Palestinian Omar Alabed after a raid in the occupied West Bank. It comes amid rising tensions over restrictions at the al-Aqsa mosque.

Israeli forces raided the home of an alleged Palestinian attacker who killed three Israeli settlers and wounded another on Friday, the military said on Saturday, and vowed to destroy the family abode.

The raid resulted in the arrest of the attacker's brother, an Israeli military spokeswoman said. Movement of Palestinians from his village was also restricted by Israeli security services.

The stabbing was allegedly carried out by Palestinian Omar Alabed, who attacked the Israelis in their home in the fenced-off settlement of Neve Tsuf. The attack ended with Alabed being shot and taken to hospital.

Before launching his attack, Alabed took to Facebook, where he said gave some indication of what he was about to carry out.

"I am going there and I know I am not going to come back here, I will go to heaven. How sweet death is for the sake of God, his prophet and for al-Aqsa Mosque," he wrote, referring to the increased Israeli restrictions on Palestinians visiting Islam's third holiest mosque in Jerusalem.

Following the attack, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Alabed's home will be swiftly demolished, in line with Israeli policy.

This policy has been criticised by rights groups as a means of collective punishment, in which the families of attackers are made to suffer the consequences of actions the often have no prior knowledge of.

Lieberman also called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the "slaughter" that took place.

Saturday's raid took place amid increased tensions in the West Bank over Israel's tightening grip on the al-Aqsa Mosque and the security measures around it.

After a attack in which two Israeli soldiers were killed outside the al-Aqsa mosque over a week ago, metal detectors were installed at the mosque's gates.

Palestinian groups, including both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, have demanded the removal of the detectors, which they see as a stealth tactic by Israel to assert greater control over the holy site.

The site, which is sacred to Muslims, is also revered by Jews and known to them as Temple Mount.

Palestinians have boycotted the mosque in response to the new Israeli measures and have clashed with Israeli forces in numerous protests around the West Bank.

On Friday, three protesters were killed by Israeli troops, including a 17-year-old who was fatally shot in the neck.

Another two Palestinians were killed in fresh clashes on Saturday.

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