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Israeli Troops Destroy Jenin Homes

October 31, 2002

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NABLUS, West Bank (AP) _ Israeli troops Thursday demolished four houses belonging to suspected Palestinian militants, bringing to nine the number of houses destroyed in the Jenin refugee camp this past week.

Two of the houses destroyed Thursday belonged to suicide bombers and two belonged to suspected militants wanted by Israel for attacks, the military said. The demolitions left at least 50 people homeless, Palestinian militants said.

Since early summer, Israel’s military has destroyed dozens of homes belonging to families of Palestinian terror suspects, arguing that it dissuades other Palestinians from launching attacks.

Palestinians view the demolitions, which are criticized by human rights groups, as collective punishment for the crimes of extremists.

The army said one of the suicide bombers whose house was destroyed Thursday helped slam a car packed with explosives into a bus in northern Israel last week, killing 14 people.

The other suicide bomber carried out a May 2001 attack that injured 49 people, the army said.

One of the militants was in a car full of gunmen who fired on a bus stop in the coastal Israeli town of Hadera last year, killing four people. The militant was shot and killed in the attack.

Israeli troops reoccupied the town of Jenin a week ago after the Oct. 21 bus bombing in northern Israel. Troops have conducted house-to-house searches for militants and arrested Palestinian suspects.

The town was under curfew for six straight days, with the army finally letting people out of their homes Wednesday.

Israeli army officers have said soldiers will remain in Jenin until they finish rooting out militants there.

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