- 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
- 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
- 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
- Israel has since withdrawn to positions around Palestinian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.