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(photo credit: Channel 2)
After months of legal wrangling, the IDF on Monday sealed off part of the east Jerusalem home of the terrorist who gunned down eight young students in a Jerusalem yeshiva last year, police said.
The move came two weeks after the High Court of Justice rejected a petition against the punitive measure by the father of the attacker and ruled that the home could be partially sealed.
The landmark decision, which came 10 months after Ala Abu Dhaim burst into the yeshiva in Jerusalem's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood last March and opened fire in the library, was seen as likely to pave the way for similar cases that are still pending in the High Court.
After firing hundreds of bullets, Dhaim was shot dead by an off-duty IDF officer.
The court ruled that the military could permanently seal two of the four floors of the family's Jebl Mukaber home with cement in accordance with a decision made by the OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan.
There were no immediate reports of major violent disturbances during the operation on Monday, although three Arabs were arrested for pelting security forces with stones, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.
The work was expected to be completed by nightfall, he added.
Both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have voiced support for the demolition of terrorists' homes in Jerusalem following a spate of back-to-back attacks carried out in the capital by Arab residents of east Jerusalem last year.
In the past, Israel routinely demolished the homes of terrorists, but stopped carrying out the controversial practice, which was widely condemned by human rights groups and Palestinians as collective punishment, after an internal Israeli report recommended that demolitions be carried out only in the most extreme cases.
Proponents of the policy say that demolishing the home of a terrorist serves as a deterrent against future attacks, while failure to mete out such punishment only promotes them.
The State had argued in court that the severity of the crime and the marked increase in Jerusalem Arabs' involvement in terror over the last few years necessitated the renewal of the practice.