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Israel levels West Bank home of Palestinian American attack suspect

Sanaa Shalaby at home
Sanaa Shalaby, the estranged wife of attack suspect Muntasser Shalaby, in their home in the West Bank village of Turmus Ayya. The home was destroyed Thursday by Israeli forces.
(Majdi Mohammed / Associated Press)

Israeli forces Thursday demolished the family home of a Palestinian American man accused of being involved in a deadly attack on Israelis in the West Bank in May.

Associated Press video footage showed Israeli army troops leveling the two-story home of Muntasser Shalaby, in the village of Turmus Ayya, with controlled explosions.

Israel says Shalaby carried out a May 2 drive-by shooting in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that killed Israeli student Yehuda Guetta and wounded two others. Shalaby was arrested days after the attack. His wife, Sanaa Shalaby, told the AP that they were estranged for several years and that he spent most of his time in Santa Fe, where he had married three other women in unofficial Islamic ceremonies. The entire family has U.S. citizenship.

The Israeli Supreme Court upheld the demolition order in a decision last month. Sanaa and her three children had been living in the home.

The Israel-Hamas war has helped catalyze a newfound sense of Palestinian solidarity that could mark a new moment in the Middle East, activists say.

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The case drew attention to Israel’s policy of punitive demolitions of the homes of Palestinians who attack Israelis. Israeli officials say the demolitions deter future attacks, while rights groups view them as a form of collective punishment.

The U.S. State Department has urged a halt to punitive home demolitions.

The U.S. Embassy said in a statement that it was following reports of the home demolition, and that all sides should “refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution. This certainly includes the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes.”

“As we stated numerous times, the home of an entire family should not be demolished for the actions of one individual,” the embassy said.


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