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Israeli troops converge on Palestinian town earmarked for demolition

ISRAELI troops dismantled five corrugated-iron shacks set up by Palestinian protesters to impede the impending razing of the West Bank hamlet of Khan al-Ahmar.

Protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmeh said about 200 soldiers converged on the area of the Khan al-Ahmar encampment before dawn, dismantled the shacks and loaded the parts onto lorries.

The village itself was not touched. Protesters chanted: “Out, out, terrorist army,” as the lorries and soldiers left after daybreak.

Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal last week, paving the way for Khan al-Ahmar's potential demolition. Residents say the demolition is to make room for expanding an illegal Israeli settlement nearby.

The village is in the 60 per cent of the West Bank known as Area C, which remains under exclusive Israeli control. Israel places severe restrictions on Palestinian development there and home demolitions are not unusual. But the removal of an entire community is less common.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said earlier this week he had filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Khan al-Ahmar’s destruction.

Though the United States has said it will not tolerate ICC prosecutions of Israel, threatening sanctions if the court tries to go ahead with such a process, the European Union confirmed today it continued to respect the remit of the ICC.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “We will continue to fully and strongly support the ICC and its work.”

The US is not a party to the ICC, though it has called for the prosecution of residents of other countries by the court.

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