Dozens of Palestinians suffocated during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in Beit Ummar, to the south of Hebron, after the latter stormed the town to inquire after a local youth who was shot dead by army soldiers on Friday, following an alleged car-ramming attack against Israeli soldiers.Local Omar al-Za’aqiq, 19, was shot dead on Friday, after he allegedly rammed his car into several Israeli soldiers. The soldiers reportedly sustained various injuries.

Israeli forces predawn Saturday raided the family home of Za’aqiq, in addition to the homes of his uncles, where they interrogated the homes’ dwellers and threatened them with the demolition of their homes, leading to clashes with provoked locals. Forces fired live and rubber baton rounds, and tear gas canisters toward locals and their homes, causing dozens to suffocate due to tear gas inhalation.

Forces further took measurements of the family home of Za’aqiq, in an apparent prelude to demolish the house; Israel resorts to demolishing the family homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks against Israelis as ‘means of deterrence’; a policy that was slammed illegal as it falls under the internationally prohibited collective punishment.

“Collective punishments are prohibited under international humanitarian law in all circumstances.249 The prohibition on collective punishments applies to criminal sanctions against persons for actions for which they do not bear individual criminal responsibility, but also to “all sanctions and harassment of any sort, administrative, by police action or otherwise,” stressed the Human Rights Watch.

Spokesperson of the anti settlement popular committee in Beit Ummar, Mohammed Awad, informed WAFA that forces raided his home and interrogated his son Ahmad, 17, to inquire after him. After the son, Ahmad, told forces that his father was praying at a mosque in the area, the former raided the mosque and questioned Awad about Za’aqiq.