Yesterday in a major operation more than 1,000 Israeli forces crowded the streets of Shuafat Refugee camp in East Jerusalem to demolish by explosion the family home of a Palestinian who killed three and wounded 14 in a car ramming attack in November 2014, causing clashes between residents and Israeli police.
While the demolition was in progress Israeli forces closed all entrances into the camp and roads inside of the congested neighborhood. Ambulances were prevented from driving into the area to retrieve patients wounded with rubber bullets in unrest until the Israeli army left the camp, Red Crescent spokesperson Erab al -Fuqaha told Mondoweiss.
During the explosion, debris damaged the homes of numerous neighboring Palestinians, cracking foundations and walls and shattering windows.
Scores of Shuafat residents logged the incursion over social media. A Facebook page for the camp posted photos showing dark blue clad police in riot gear walking through the street. Video footage from the Israeli military and camp residents show police using maps to guide them to the al-Akri family home, drilling holes in the wall to implant explosives, and detonating incendiary devices which caused a mushroom cloud of smoke.
Last year Ibrahim al-Akri drove his vehicle into pedestrians waiting at a bus shelter and killed one Druze police officer, one Israeli and one Palestinian from the West Bank. After the collision al-Akri leapt from his car and assaulted more than a dozen with a crow bar before Israeli police who had rushed to the scene shot and killed him.
Israeli authorities attempted to demolish al-Akri’s home shortly after the attack, yet they were prevented from doing so after clashes erupted throughout Shuafat camp. The house that was razed yesterday was home to his widow and five children.
Shuafat refugee camp is the only Palestinian refugee camp located on the Israeli side of the separation wall. It was founded in 1965 to house Palestinian refugees living in what is now the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. Today the population is more than 10,000 and the entire camp is surrounded by Israel’s separation wall, accessible through a military checkpoint.
[Editor: The Washington Post published the Israeli army video of the operation without any explanation of the policy of collective punishment, and without the names of the family. It includes a shot of a crowded Israeli war-room watching the operation.]