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Israel undertakes punitive measures after the synagogue attack


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Israeli police sealed Sunday the home of a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem who killed seven people and wounded three outside a synagogue.

The move comes as one of several punitive measures to revoke some of the rights of relatives of the attackers, which Benjamin Netanyahu’s government agreed to overnight.

The security cabinet announced a series of steps late Saturday night, including revoking the right to social security for “families of terrorists who support terrorism.”

It also announced that the home of Khairi Alqam, 21, who was shot dead by police after Friday’s attack, “will be closed immediately prior to its demolition.”

An AFP correspondent saw the Israeli forces on the balcony of the building, after closing its entrances, while the Palestinians took out their belongings.

Israel already demolishes the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis, although the process requires families to be given advance notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision.

Closing the house overnight shows “the government’s desire to take revenge on the families,” said Danny Shenhar, head of the legal department at the Israeli human rights group HaMoked.

He said the action was “taken in complete disregard for the rule of law,” and HaMoked intends to protest to the attorney general.

More guns for civilians

The Israeli cabinet said there would also be debate on Sunday on a bill to revoke Israeli ID cards from relatives of the attackers.

The announced measures are in line with the proposals of Netanyahu’s far-right political partners and enabled him to return to power at the end of December.

It is likely to apply primarily to Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, known as Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians with residency permits in East Jerusalem.

Hours after the fatal shooting outside the synagogue in the Neve Yaakov settlement, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and injured two Israelis outside the Old City of East Jerusalem.

The boy accused of the attack in the Silwan neighborhood was shot at the scene.

No group has claimed responsibility for any of the shootings.

The security government also decided to facilitate obtaining permits to carry firearms.

“When civilians carry guns, they can defend themselves,” right-wing National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir told reporters outside a hospital in Jerusalem on Saturday.

And the Israeli forces were put on high alert, and the army announced that it would increase the numbers of forces in the West Bank, while calls for restraint from abroad multiplied.

The Jerusalem attacks come after nine Palestinians were killed in the deadliest raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank in nearly two decades.

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