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Israel destroys 11 Palestinian homes as demolitions hit decade high

Leading Israeli human rights group says Israel has demolished more Palestinian homes this year than any other in last decade
A Palestinian girl photographs the rubble of a house that was demolished by Israeli bulldozers in Qalandia (AFP)

Israeli bulldozers have destroyed 11 Palestinian homes in Qalandiya, near Jerusalem, as Israeli authorities step up demolitions to levels not seen in a decade.

Among the structures destroyed was a two-storey building, leaving 44 people homeless, including 11 children.

The demolitions were carried out early on Tuesday. Authorities did not respond to requests for information on why.

Their destruction adds to the 78 demolitions already carried out this year in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - higher than the whole of last year's 74, and any other year over the last decade according to the rights group Bt'Selem.

Clashes broke out during the Qalandiya demolitions, leaving several Palestinians wounded, according to the rights group Ir Amim.

Mohammed al-Jouri, a resident whose home was destroyed, said Israeli authorities "warned us on Monday afternoon that they were going to destroy our houses, some which were still under construction".

According to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, Israel has demolished more Palestinian homes in the West Bank over the last seven months than every other year in the past decade. 

Israeli authorities say many of the demolished Palestinian homes are built illegally. 

Permits are however nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain in the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control, which amounts to 60 percent of the territory.

"These efforts to break the contiguity of Palestinian East Jerusalem with the West Bank pose a severe threat to the two-state solution," B'Tselem added.

Imad Abu Shalbek, whose brother's home was destroyed, said a notice had been posted by authorities behind the house that they had not seen until after the demolition.

Shalbek was planning to take in his nephews for the time being.

"The father invested all his life and his savings in that house and now he doesn't know where he is going to go," Shalbek said.

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