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Israel Destroys Homes of Militiants

August 8, 2002

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JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli troops demolished four homes in the West Bank on Thursday _ two belonging to Palestinian suicide bombers, one to a man who supplied explosives for an attack and a fourth to a suspected bombing mastermind.

The demolitions brought to 18 the number of houses of terror suspects demolished since Israel revived its controversial policy last month.

Earlier this week, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the army’s right to raze homes without warning. Human rights groups say house demolitions amount to collective punishment and violate international law. Israel says the demolitions provide an important deterrent against terror attacks.

On Thursday, three homes were demolished in the Bethlehem area.

In the village of Artas, troops blew up the house of Daoud Abu Swai, who blew himself up outside a hotel in Jerusalem in December, injuring five people.

In the nearby village of Doha, bulldozers razed the house of Akram Nabtiti who carried out a suicide bombing at a busy intersection in Jerusalem in March, killing himself and injuring 25 bystanders.

In the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem, bulldozers leveled the home of Ali Allam, a member of the Islamic militant group Hamas, who allegedly dispatched a bomber who killed himself and 19 people in a Jerusalem attack in June.

In the village of Tubas, north of Nablus, troops demolished the home of Mazen Foqha, who was arrested Monday for allegedly supplying explosives for a suicide attack on a bus in northern Israel on Sunday in which nine people were killed, in addition to the bomber.

Soldiers gave the Foqha family 20 minutes to remove personal belongings from the home before destroying it, witnesses said. Much of the family furniture remained inside when the building was taken down.

No one was injured in the demolitions.

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