Israel Destroys Entire
Apartment Building Of Suicide Bomber


TULKARM, West Bank (Reuters) - Israel Friday blew up a six-apartment building that was home to a Palestinian suicide bomber whose killing of 29 people in an Israeli hotel was followed by an Israeli offensive in the West Bank.
"Israeli reservists and special engineering corps forces destroyed the home of Abdel-Basset Odeh, a Hamas activist, who carried out the murderous attack in Netanya's Park Hotel on March 27 on Passover eve," the army said in a statement.
Witnesses said the army ordered some 70 family members and other relatives of the suicide bomber to evacuate the four-storey building before they rigged it with explosives and blew it up.
The force of the explosion totally or partially destroyed eight other apartments in two adjacent buildings and shattered windows of scores of other houses. About 100 people were left homeless, residents said.
Palestinians and human rights groups say destroying houses of Palestinians involved in attacks on Israelis amounts to a collective punishment. Israel routinely undertook such house demolitions before it signed interim peace deals with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993.
Two days after the Netanya bombing, Israel launched its biggest offensive in the West Bank since capturing the area in the 1967 Middle East war, declaring it would uproot militants behind a wave of attacks against Israelis.
Israel has since withdrawn to positions around Palestinian cities and towns, and soldiers have been launching surprise raids to make arrests, including an operation in Hebron on Friday in which two Hamas militants were detained.


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