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Many injured in Hebron house demolition

22 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

At 10pm Sunday August 21st the Hasan Ali Darwish Al-Qawasmi house in the Abo Ktelah district was raided and later destroyed by Israeli soldiers. Around eight armored vehicles surrounded the house and at least 40 soldiers were blocking every entrance. The Israeli soldiers had arrived at the house at 8 pm. They told family members that it would take 20 minutes but three and a half hours later they remained in occupation of the house. A row of 14 soldiers blocked the main entrance to the house. Female family members stood in front of them and demanded that they be allowed back into their home.

A family member accounted that Israeli soldiers had already arrested their husbands and were also guilty of the imprisonment of seven brothers and the death of two other brothers of one particular woman. This woman arrived at the house with her baby in her arms to defy and stand up to the Israeli soldiers. After a while the army emerged from the house with a blindfolded and handcuffed man who looked as though he had been beaten.

The soldiers took him away in a jeep. The Israeli soldiers informed the family and other bystanders that a suspected “suspicious object” was in the home that needed to be disposed of, which coincidentally meant exploding a section of the house. Everyone was pushed aside in preparation for the explosion, which took place in the yard of the house. The massive explosion smashed all the windows and damaged a neighbor’s home.

During the raid clashes between Palestinians and the army started, leaving at least 30 injured with the possible rumor that of the injured, one was killed. Details have yet to be confirmed.

The army was shooting a large amount of tear gas directly at protesters and according to witnesses they probably also used rubber coated steel bullets. The Israeli soldiers fled at around midnight and the protestors went to inspect the damaged house. Once being allowed back into the home the family members found their home torn apart. Sofa chairs had been ripped open, picture frames had been smashed and glass lay everywhere. Their home had been destroyed.

Witnesses said that 10 days ago another member of the Al-Qawasmi family had been arrested. On the night of August 20th Israeli soldiers arrested 10 other people in this same neighborhood. This frightful scene concluded with an elderly female relative, who had been trapped in the house during the raid, being carried out on a stretcher by Palestinian ambulances. The ambulances also tended to severely injured protestors.