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PHOTOS: Israeli forces kill Palestinian and bulldoze his family house

In an overnight raid in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Israeli forces kill 24-year-old Palestinian Zakaria Al-Aqra and injure six others. They then bulldoze part of his family’s house.

Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Israeli soldiers search the area during an army operation in which soldiers killed Palestinian Zakaria Al-Aqra, 24, at his family home in the West Bank village of Qabalan, near Nablus, August 11, 2014. Al-Aqra was wanted by Israel. Six other people from his family were wounded and parts of his house were destroyed during the operation which lasted eight hours. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by Israeli army.

Israeli soldiers search the area during an army operation in which soldiers killed Palestinian Zakaria Al-Aqra, 24, at his family home in the West Bank village of Qabalan, near Nablus, August 11, 2014. Al-Aqra was wanted by Israel. Six other people from his family were wounded and parts of his house were destroyed during the operation which lasted eight hours. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by Israeli army. (photo: Activestills.org)

At about midnight on August 11, the Israeli army raided the West Bank village of Qabalan near Nablus. As clashes erupted with the local residents, the military focused its operation in the eastern part of the village on a hill called Al Qantara. Locals reported that they heard fierce exchanges of gunfire at about 2:00 a.m. as the army surrounded two houses of the Al-Aqra family. They said Israeli forces used live bullets and rifle-fired grenades. The army also bombed the entrance of one house.

I arrived at 5:30 a.m. The area was quiet. The clashes had stopped. The army was everywhere in the village. About 15 jeeps were still surrounding the Al-Aqra family house from every side. Two bulldozers were in the area. I could see a whole family detained in one room. The army prevented anyone from entering the area of the operation – even medical staff and journalists. I went to the roof of a nearby house for a better view. I saw a small bulldozer trying to clear a path for a bigger D9 Caterpillar. The smaller bulldozer destroyed electricity towers and platforms. Then, the D9 started to destroy parts of the house, allowing soldiers to enter.

At about 7:00 a.m., the soldiers left the house. The women detained in the house started crying. When we heard their cries we knew that the “wanted person” had been killed. At 8:00 a.m., the army left the area, allowing journalists and medical staff to reach the house. The military left the body of the victim in his home.

He was Zakaria Al-Aqra, 24, of Fatah. Palestinian television news reported that he was wanted by Israel because of armed resistance activity in the past. According to the army, Al-Aqra was involved in multiple shooting incidents at Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. It said it found arms in the building after the siege ended. Six people in his family were wounded, with one remaining in serious condition.

The interior of the Al-Aqra family house was badly damaged, and all of their possessions destroyed. The walls were full of bullet holes and damage from rifle-fired grenade blasts.

According to other Palestinian media reports, soldiers also arrested the Al-Aqra’s brother, Bilal, and another young man, identified as Alaa Hussein Abdulrahim. Another report says that “Israel alleges Al-Aqra shot and seriously injured an Israeli soldier around two weeks ago, as the army was preparing to invade Qabalan. Since then, the army has been conducting daily invasions and attacks in the town.”

As the army left, the massive D9 bulldozer damaged the village streets and entrances to houses on either side. When it reached the main road, used by Israeli settlers, a flatbed truck was waiting to transport the bulldozer so as not to damage the Israeli road.

According to The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli military spokeswoman said she was aware of troop activity in the area but initially had no further details.

Members of the Al-Aqra family can be seen detained inside a room while Israeli soldiers raid their house in the West Bank village of Qabalan,  August 11, 2014.

Members of the Al-Aqra family can be seen detained inside a room while Israeli soldiers raid their house in the West Bank village of Qabalan, August 11, 2014.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

An Israeli military bulldozer destroys part of the family home of Zakaria Al-Aqra, age 24, after he was killed by an army raid in the West Bank village of Qabalan, August 11, 2014.

An Israeli military bulldozer destroys part of the family home of Zakaria Al-Aqra, age 24, after he was killed by an army raid in the West Bank village of Qabalan, August 11, 2014.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

Damage from bullets and blast fragments cover the walls of the Al-Aqra family home, Qabalan, West Bank, August 11, 2014.

Damage from bullets and blast fragments cover the walls of the Al-Aqra family home, Qabalan, West Bank, August 11, 2014.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

The body of Zakaria Al-Aqra, 24, after he was killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014. Al-Aqra was wanted by Israel.

The body of Zakaria Al-Aqra, 24, after he was killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014. Al-Aqra was wanted by Israel.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

A ceiling in the family home of Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, who was killed by Israeli forces seen in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014.

A ceiling in the family home of Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, who was killed by Israeli forces seen in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

Members of the Al-Aqra family evacuate their house after it was severely damaged in a raid that killed Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, Qabalan, West Bank, August 11, 2014. Zakaria was wanted by Israel. Six other people from the family were wounded during the operation which lasted for eight hours.

Members of the Al-Aqra family evacuate their house after it was severely damaged in a raid that killed Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, Qabalan, West Bank, August 11, 2014. Zakaria was wanted by Israel. Six other people from the family were wounded during the operation which lasted for eight hours.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

An Israeli bulldozer drives through the West Bank village of Qabalan, following a raid which killed Zakaria Al-Aqra and badly damaged his family home, August 11, 2014.

An Israeli bulldozer drives through the West Bank village of Qabalan, following a raid which killed Zakaria Al-Aqra and badly damaged his family home, August 11, 2014.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians assess the damage caused to the family house of Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, who was killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014.

Palestinians assess the damage caused to the family house of Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, who was killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian woman shouts at Israeli soldiers during an army operation in which soldiers killed Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, at his family house in the West Bank village of Qabalan, August 11, 2014. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by the Israeli army.

A Palestinian woman shouts at Israeli soldiers during an army operation in which soldiers killed Zakaria al-Aqra, age 24, at his family house in the West Bank village of Qabalan, August 11, 2014. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by the Israeli army.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

A view of the West Bank village of Qabalan through the broken windows of the Al-Aqra family house following an Israeli army raid that killed Zakaria Al-Aqra, age 24, August 11, 2014.

A view of the West Bank village of Qabalan through the broken windows of the Al-Aqra family house following an Israeli army raid that killed Zakaria Al-Aqra, age 24, August 11, 2014.(photo: Activestills.org)

Related:
Gaza dispatch: When tanks shell refugee camps
IDF Spokesperson expresses regret over killing of single Palestinian child

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    COMMENTS

    1. amar

      Israel…..is the criminal gang

      Reply to Comment
    2. Philos

      Has anyone determined if he was executed or died resisting his capture?

      Reply to Comment
      • Kevin

        What’s the odds he was given a chance to surrender? Other than surrendering in private, and shot in private, ‘because he didn’t surrender’.

        Just another assassination mission by the IDF.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Pedro X

      Are we supposed to feel sorry for the dead terrorist or his family? He chose his fate. He refused to surrender and fired injuring two Israeli border police officers. The terrorist preferred to shoot it out knowing he would be killed. He could have had a cushy cell in an Israeli prison and a lifetime pension from the PA. As a fanatic he preferred to die.

      Reply to Comment
      • Nihadbs

        Didn’t ask yourself what this army is doing in a land that is not its?
        We ought to feel sorry for this family as a human…but…humanity leaves the building when Israeli army enters it!

        Reply to Comment
      • Roberto

        Your comment is simplistic and ignorant of the overall situation and conditions of occupation, oppression, and the military judicial system imposed on the Palestinians.
        A person who resists is not necessarily a fanatic. I would get out of your bubble and start looking at the world with more open eyes than your made-for-TV-“good guy vs. bad guy” mentality Pedro.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        Woe, not only to the enemy, but also to his family for not abandoning him.

        Are you Jews or Mongol horde warriors?

        Reply to Comment
      • Pedro, it is obvious that you have lost any shred of humanity. I can understand your not feeling sorry for Zakaria Al-Aqra. As you put it, he was a terrorist. Of course, many others would view him as a resistance fighter who was trying to rid the West Bank of an illegal occupation. But let’s assume that your way of seeing him is correct. I will for arguments sake agree with you on on this one.

        But what of his family? What if he had a two year old daughter? Did she do anything to deserve this? Losing her father wasn’t bad enough. Now she is homeless as well. And you would celebrate the homelessness of a two year old, fatherless baby.

        Your lack of empathy is disgusting.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          What of his family? Does having a terrorist and his cache of lethal arms in a family house mean that family members have some magical immunity from the consequences of the terrorist’s actions and choices?

          In this particular case, Israel risked the lives of its troops to arrest an active, ticking bomb, terrorist. Israel could have easily dropped a bomb and collapsed the whole house killing terrorist and family. But Israel did not. It took aside the family members and placed them out of harm’s way. The police gave the terrorist chances to surrender which he answered with live fire, injuring two of the police. Israel brought in a bulldozer to rock the portion of the house he was in to force him to surrender. He did not. Israel used a missile to blow open a hole in the wall of his apartment and then shot and killed him.

          The damage suffered to the home is the result of the terrorist’s actions in resisting arrest and using armed force to evade that arrest knowing that he would be killed and the house damaged.

          The other family members of Al-Aqra are alive, unlike Jews who have been killed by fanatical terrorists like Al-Aqra.

          There is no celebration here. No sorrow either. This is grim reality.

          Reply to Comment
          • I gave you the benefit of the doubt by accepting your label of him as a terrorist. But if you are going to use that label to justify intentionally making a two year old baby homeless in addition to fatherless, then I will challenge that classification.

            He was accused of shooting SOLDIERS, not civilians, in OCCUPIED TERRITORY. Though I certainly do not approve shooting at soldiers there is a big difference between armed resistance of an occupation and attacks on innocent civilians. The term “terrorist” should not be used the same way for both situations. It would be better to call him an enemy combatant.

            But even if he was a terrorist, that still does not justify destroying the house after the he was killed. The IDF could have simply removed the munitions found in the house and let the rest of the family move back in. Instead, they chose to collectively punish the family.

            What a disgrace.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            The distinction you espouse for classifying terrorist actions against soldiers and civilians is not substantiated under US, British and Canadian law. An act of terror against a soldier is an act of terror against a civilian. For instance, The British Terrorism Act defines terrorism as the use and threat of action “designed to influence the government OR to intimidate the public or a section of the public” and “made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.”

            The Canadian Criminal Code defines terrorist activity as an act committed “in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause” with the intention of intimidating the public “…with regard to its security, including its economic security, OR compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act.”

            The shooting of a soldier guarding the public by a Palestinian militant is an act that seeks to not only intimidate the public but also to affect the decisions of a government. The act is for an ideological, nationalistic, purpose. It is an act of terror.

            Terrorists need to be deterred even if it means dismantling the terrorist’s home. President A. Barak of the Supreme Court of Israel said:

            “We are aware that the demolition will leave petitioner and her children without the roof over their heads, but this is not the aim of the demolition. It is not a punitive measure. It aims, rather, to deter. Its outcome does pose
            difficulties for the family, but respondent believes that this measure is essential in order to prevent further attacks on innocent people.”

            In this particular case, the IDF only dismantled the terrorist’s portion of the house. The remainder of the house stands, and the family, and your imaginary two year old, are not made homeless.

            Reply to Comment
          • There is no universally agreed upon definition of terrorism. As former Shin Bet leader Yuval Diskin acknowledged in “The Gatekeepers”, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

            If you claim that targeting an enemy soldier is terrorism then every act of war is a terrorist act, and this dilutes the meaning of “terrorism” to the point of banality.

            One point you ignored in your post is that Al-Aqra didn’t just target Israeli soldiers–he targeted Israeli soldiers in ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED TERRITORY.

            http://themessinglink.com/WestBankOccupation

            If you were to claim that terrorism includes fighting soldiers occupying your territory, then you must claim that no one has the right to fight an illegal occupation. So if ISIS were to sweep through Iraq, then Jordan, and take over parts of Israel, you would consider it terrorism to fight back. Riiiiight.

            Pedro X, let me ask you a question. Read the account that Yousef Haim Ben-David gave of his brutal torture-murder of Arab teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir

            http://www.timesofisrael.com/we-said-they-took-three-of-ours-lets-take-one-of-theirs/

            Do you consider Ben-David a terrorist? If not, why would you say that shooting at a soldier is terrorism, whereas the brutal torture and murder of an unarmed teenager is not?

            And if Ben-David is a terrorist, do you support destroying his house? If not, why the racist double standard?

            Reply to Comment
      • JG

        Yeah, think about your words, you will be end same way and nobody will feel sorry for the dead fascist or his family

        Reply to Comment
    4. From the river to the sea, PALESTINE will be FREE!!

      Reply to Comment
    5. mirishtiyaqmir@gmail.com

      izrahell has voilated all norms of internattional law and still no sanctions on it.it has done all atrocities and barbaric acts on d people of gaza.he is a war criminal

      Reply to Comment
    6. Abdi Warsame

      Our governments have failed, so we have to act and boycott Israel, this is a genocide against humanity. The end of occupation is coming soon. Just do your part.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Anthony

      The U.S.has provided major money and military aid to Israel for many years, making us partially responsible for the horror that has befallen the people of Gaza. Over 350,000 Israelis have illegally occupied the West Bank. W.T.*. ? Couldn’t we invest some of the blood money we give Israel on building a better Palestine? Why are we taking sides?

      Reply to Comment
      • Kevin

        “To be neutral is to be on the side of the oppressor.”

        Reply to Comment