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Israel cops raze Palestinian home in controversial Jerusalem area

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A Palestinian surveys what remains of the Salhiya family home in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem after its demolition by Israeli police. AFP

Israel cops raze Palestinian home in controversial Jerusalem area

Israeli police demolished the home of a Palestinian family and arrested at least 18 people as they carried out a controversial eviction order in the sensitive east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah early on January 19.

The looming eviction of other families from Sheikh Jarrah in May last year fuelled an 11-day war between Israel and armed Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Before dawn, Israeli officers went to the home of the Salhiya family, who were first served with an eviction notice in 2017.

Jerusalem authorities have said the land will be used to build a school for children with special needs.

“Members of the family living in the illegal buildings were given countless opportunities to hand over the land with consent,” a police statement said.

When police arrived to carry out the order on January 17, Salhiya family members went up to the building’s roof with gas canisters, threatening to set the contents and themselves alight if they were forced out of their home.

Police had eventually backed off, but returned early on January 19 amid heavy rainfall in Jerusalem.

Salhiya family lawyer Walid Abu-Tayeh told AFP police had arrested 20 people during the operation, six of them Israeli citizens, with the latter being released, adding that “the Arab detainees were assaulted”.

He also confirmed reports that the Palestinian father Mahmud Salhiya is married to an Israeli Jew, named Meital.

In an audio recording distributed to local Arab-language media, Meital, who speaks Arabic, said: “They took me out of the house with my daughter and children who were crying and arrested my husband and all the young men.”

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