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Israel demolishes homes of 2 alleged Palestinian attackers

The Israeli military on Thursday said its forces demolished the homes of two Palestinians accused of being behind a deadly blast in the West Bank last year.

Israel says Walid Hanatsheh and Yazan Mughamis were part of a cell that carried out the attack in August, which killed 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb and injured her father and brother as they hiked down to a spring in the occupied West Bank.

Hanatsheh and Mughamis, along with other alleged members of the cell, are currently facing trial in an Israeli court.

Bulldozers tore down one home in the West Bank city of Bir Zeit. At the second home in the city of Ramallah, soldiers used jackhammers to destroy the interior walls of the apartment.

During the operation early Thursday, the military said dozens of Palestinians burned tires and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli forces. It said its forces responded with “riot dispersal means,” which usually means tear gas and stun grenades.

Israel says demolishing the family homes of alleged militants deters violence. Critics say the tactic amounts to collective punishment.

Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh contributed to this report from Ramallah, West Bank.