AFP/ Jerusalem

Israel razed the homes in the occupied West Bank of four Palestinians blamed for attacking Israelis, the army said on Saturday, its latest punitive demolitions after weeks of deadly unrest.

The demolitions came hours after an Israeli father and son were shot dead in an apparent ambush near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron on Friday in the most serious attack on Israelis in nearly a month.

In Nablus in the northern West Bank, troops destroyed the homes of three Palestinians accused of killing an Israeli settler couple on October 1 at the start of the latest flare-up of violence, the army said.

In Silwad, northeast of Ramallah, they razed the home of a Palestinian accused of killing an Israeli on a West Bank road in June, it added.

The demolitions prompted clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli army in which nine suffered minor injuries, Palestinian medical sources said.

Last month, the Israeli government ordered an intensification of punitive home demolitions in response to a wave of stabbing and shooting attacks and other deadly unrest.

It says the controversial policy acts as a deterrent but critics say the main victims of such demolitions are relatives forced to pay for another person's actions.

The wave of violence that erupted on October 1 has shown no letup. Friday also saw three Palestinians die after being shot by Israeli soldiers.

Since the start of last month, the violence has killed 81 people on the Palestinian side -- including one Israeli Arab -- and 12 Israelis.

Many of the Palestinians killed have been alleged attackers.



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