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Israel razes homes of Palestinian bombing suspects

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Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Israeli forces on Thursday demolished the homes of two Palestinian men accused of involvement in a bomb attack last year that killed an Israeli teenager in the occupied West Bank.

The explosion on August 23, 2019, near a spring close to the Jewish settlement of Dolev, killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and wounded her father and brother.

Four men were subsequently rounded up, accused of planting the roadside bomb as members of the banned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They have not been charged.

An English-language army statement said soldiers on Thursday razed the home of Walid Hanatsheh in Ramallah and Yazan Mughamis in the nearby town of Birzeit.

It said Palestinians hurled rocks and petrol bombs at troops and burned tyres in protest during the demolitions, while soldiers responded with unspecified "riot dispersal means".

There were no reports of wounded on either side.

Israel routinely demolishes the homes of those accused of carrying out attacks.

It argues that such measures act as a deterrent, but critics say it amounts to collective punishment.

The family of Kasim Shibli, another detained suspect, has been notified that his home in Kobar, near Ramallah, is also slated for demolition subject to a ruling by the Israeli supreme court, which is set to hear an appeal against the move on March 16.

The army said the court had rejected appeals on behalf of Hanatsheh and Mughamis.

The fourth suspect, Samer al-Arbeed, rents his home, which can therefore not be demolished, Palestinians said.

Israel's Shin Bet security agency in September identified Arbeed as the ringleader and said the cell had been planning shooting attacks and a kidnapping.

Palestinian prisoner support group Addameer said at the time that the 44-year-old Arbeed had been tortured by his Israeli interrogators and needed hospitalisation.

Police refused to comment on the nature of Arbeed's arrest, while the Shin Bet said that during his interrogation he said "he did not feel well."

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