Israel demolishes home of Palestinian charged with killing Israeli

Smoke rises from the home of Palestinian Ziad Awad in the village of Idhna, close to the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank July 2, 2014. REUTERS/ Mussa Qawasma

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Wednesday demolished the home of a Palestinian, Ziad Awad, arrested this month on charges of shooting dead an off-duty police officer April, the army said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, an army spokesman said the demolition was intended to serve as a deterrent.

“The implementation of the demolition order serves to deter and conveys a severe warning to terrorists and their accomplices that their actions will bear severe consequences,” he said.

On Monday, Israel’s high court rejected an appeal by an Israeli rights group to the army decision to demolish the home in the village of Idhna, close to the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank.

Israel’s army blew up or demolished militants’ homes for decades, but stopped the practice in 2005, saying it was counterproductive in their effort to discourage attacks.

“They came at three in the morning and had finished destroying the house at seven. I had thought they would just tear down my brother’s house, but now everything’s gone and we also have nowhere to go,” said Ziad’s brother Mohammed, who lives in the same small building which housed 15 other members of their extended family.

HaMoked Centre, an Israeli rights group, said the ruling violated international and Israeli law “that a person must not be punished for the acts of others”.

“Chief victims are the occupants of the demolished house rather than the alleged perpetrator,” it argued.

Reporting by Ori Lewis and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Jeremy Laurence