Israel to demolish Palestinian murder suspect’s home

Israeli authorities are threatening to demolish this building which houses Arafat Irfaiya, a Palestinian suspected of killing a young Israeli woman, in the flashpoint city of Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)
Updated 10 February 2019

Israel to demolish Palestinian murder suspect’s home

  • Israeli authorities said the suspect was arrested over the weekend and has not yet been charged
  • Irfaiya is suspected ot murdering Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old Israeli woman last week

JERUSALEM: The Israeli Army said on Sunday it had started preparations to demolish the West Bank home of a Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli woman.

“Overnight, troops operated in Hebron, where the suspect in the murder of Ori Ansbacher is from,” the army said in an English-language statement.

“During the operation, the troops surveyed the suspect’s house in order to examine the possibility of its demolition.”

The suspect was arrested over the weekend and has not yet been charged.

The body of Ansbacher, 19, was found late on Thursday in southeast Jerusalem, and she was buried the next day in her Israeli settlement of Tekoa.

Israeli security forces arrested the suspect in a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Shin Bet security service named him as 29-year-old Arafat Irfaiya from Hebron.

Both the police and Shin Bet have said investigations have so far not found conclusively whether the killing was a “terrorist attack” or from other motives.

In the runup to Israel’s general election in April, however, politicians and Israeli media appeared to have no such doubts on Sunday.

“I have no doubts about the nationalist motives of the murderer,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told public radio.

“After so many years of suffering from terror we should know — this is a nationalist attack.”

Commenting on calls to execute Palestinian militant killers, Erdan said he was in favor of applying the death penalty in certain circumstances.

“If it becomes clear that there is no possibility of rehabilitating the murderer and that he abused his victim, in such cases capital punishment should be applied,” he said.

“The time has come to employ the death penalty for terrorists, as the law allows us to do,” the daily Maariv quoted MP Bezalel Smotrich of the far right Jewish Home party as saying.

Despite a court gag order, Israeli social media were abuzz over the weekend with what Yediot Aharonot newspaper called “graphic descriptions about the alleged nature of the murder.”

Police called on the public not to share “publications and reports, especially on social media, about the circumstances of the murder case, including irresponsible horrific descriptions.”

“We hereby clarify that those are completely baseless publications,” police said.

British minister emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s important role in Yemen peace process

Updated 2 min 15 sec ago

British minister emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s important role in Yemen peace process

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt highlighted Wednesday the “strategic partnership” between Britain and Saudi Arabia and said it would help British efforts to end the war in Yemen.
Hunt noted that the British-Saudi partnership helped parties to the Yemen conflict form the Stockholm Agreement under the auspices of the UN, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
“The strategic relationship that the UK has with Saudi Arabia is what allows us to have a huge influence in bringing about peace in Yemen,” he said.
Hunt’s comments, made during a visit to Berlin on Wednesday, follow a decision by Germany to freeze arms exports to Saudi Arabia. That move was slammed by several other European countries, including France, with President Emmanuel Macron labeling it “pure demagoguery.”
“Britain and Germany have the same objectives, but we need to be able to continue that strategic relationship (with Saudi Arabia) in order to make sure that there is a European voice at the (Yemeni) negotiation table that does everything it can to press for peace,” the British foreign secretary said.
He added that he would raise the issue with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin, following reports that the British minister had written to his German counterpart to complain about the arms embargo.
Britain’s foreign ministry confirmed that Hunt sent a letter to Maas, but did not elaborate on its content.
Citing the letter, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that London had urged Berlin to exempt major European defense projects from the weapons embargo.
Meanwhile, the British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt underlined Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in Yemen, pointing out that Riyadh was the “biggest donor of humanitarian efforts in Yemen.”
Burt, who recently visited a number of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, stressed Britain’s keenness to achieve progress in the Yemeni talks considering the country’s humanitarian situation. He added that he discussed the upcoming donor conference in Geneva during his visit.