Israeli officials plan to demolish the homes of four Palestinian men, including two assailants who killed five people in a synagogue earlier this week.
Relatives of Palestinian officials said that demolition notices had been handed out, after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would step up home demolitions as a punitive measure in the wake of a series Palestinian attacks on Israelis this month.
Eleven people have died in five separate incidents in recent weeks — most of them in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank. At least five Palestinians involved in the attacks were killed.
The policy has attracted heavy criticism, and had not been used for frequently for years, but Israeli officials resumed the practice to deter potential attackers.
Said Abu Jamal, a cousin of pair who attacked the synagogue, said police summoned their families on Thursday and issued the demolition orders.
In the deadliest attack on Jerusalem since 2008, the two Palestinian cousins from east Jerusalem burst into a crowded synagogue on Tuesday morning, killing four worshippers and a Druze Arab policeman with meat cleavers and gunfire before they were shot dead.
Unrest in Jerusalem
Unrest in Jerusalem
A masked Palestinian celebrates the attack on the Jerusalem synagogue holding a poster of the attackers,Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, during a rally in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
A masked Palestinian youth wearing a Hamas headband uses a sling-shot to throw back a tear gas canister towards Israeli forces during clashes outside the Israeli-run Ofer military prison following the deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue
Masked Palestinians hold axes and a gun as they celebrate with others an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers carry the body of one of the two Palestinian assailants who were shot dead while attacking worshippers at a synagogue to an ambulance in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
An Ultra-orthodox jewish man prays at the scene of an attack, by two Palestinians, on a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
An Israeli woman cries on a veranda next to a synagogue where a suspected Palestinian attack took place in Jerusalem
An Israeli police officer gestures as he holds a weapon near the scene of an attack at a Jerusalem synagogue
Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers carry the body of an assailant who was shot dead while attacking a synagogue
Israeli emergency services personnel clean the sidewalk at the scene of an attack, by two Palestinians, on Israeli worshippers at a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
Israeli security personnel run next to the synagogue in Har Nof, where a suspected Palestinian attack took place
A Palestinian activist knocks a hole through the wall near East Jerusalem
A masked Palestinian youth burns a tire near Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
A Palestinian protester throws a stone at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank town of Abu Dis near Jerusalem
Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni in the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem . A Palestinian bus driver was found hanged in his vehicle in Jerusalem, sparking clashes, after what Israel said was an apparent suicide but a colleague said looked like murder
A Palestinian protester tries to hammer a hole through Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
Palestinian protesters climb a ladder at Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
Israeli border policeman arrested over shooting of Palestinian boy during West Bank protests
Masked Palestinian youths clash with Israeli security forces in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Tor
Israeli fire fighters inspect the scene of an attack in Jerusalem. A Palestinian man rammed his car into a crowded train platform in east Jerusalem and then attacked people with an iron bar, killing one person and injuring 13 in what authorities called a terror attack before he was shot dead by the police. The militant Islamic group Hamas took responsibility for the attack
Israeli police officers walk at the scene of an attack in Jerusalem
Israeli rescue workers and paramedics carry an injured man to an ambulance after a Palestinian man, Ibrahim al-Akri, was shot by Israeli police officers after he drove into a crowd of people
Ultra-Orthodox Jews look on from behind a police line at the scene of a killing when a Palestinian man drove a van into a crowd of police and civilians along the tracks of the Light Rail trolley system in East Jerusalem
The families of two other Palestinian, attackers Ibrahim al-Akari and Moataz Hijazi, received similar notices earlier today, according Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian Authority minister for Jerusalem affairs. An Israeli police spokesman said he was checking the report.
Security forces killed both al-Akari and Hijazi, after the former rammed his car into a Jerusalem light rail station, and the latter shot and seriously wounded an Israeli activist who has lobbied for greater Jewish access to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site in October.
The notices were distributed a day after Israel demolished the home of another man who drove his car into a train station last month, killing two people before he was shot dead by police.
The synagogue attack has been regarded as a turning point for the fresh wave of violence and tensions in the region over access to Jerusalem's most holy site - known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
Palestinians fear that the current status quo at the site, which has been in effect since Israel captured the area in the 1967 Mideast War, would be disturbed if Israel’s leaders allow Jews to pray there.
While Netanyahu and other moderate Israeli leaders have repeatedly denied the claim, nationalistic politicians have stirred tensions by visiting the controversial site.
Demonstrations against the Arabs, who make up 20 per cent of Israel’s 8million-strong population, by Israeli hard-liners have also resulted.
Tensions over the Jerusalem holy site have spilled into their community as well and Israeli police recently shot to death an Arab Israeli man who approached a police car wielding a knife.
Additional reporting APReuse content