Before the demolition, Israeli soldiers stormed the home of Salhiya family and arrested over a dozen people, including family members.
Israeli police have destroyed the home of a Palestinian family in the sensitive occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Before dawn, Israeli officers went to the home of the Salhiya family, according to a video posted online by the police on Wednesday.
Shortly afterwards an AFP photographer witnessed the demolition of the house.
Israeli police had created a barrier around the Salhiya home, blockading dozens of Palestinians on the inside before the demolition, according to local sources.
Israeli soldiers stormed the home at 3AM local, beating all who were present before kidnapping Mahmoud Salhiya and two other family members, says a Salhiya family member.
Then, Israeli authorities destroyed the Salhiya family home at 5:40AM local time.
"I am devastated. You see livelihoods being destroyed in front of your eyes, and now the house is gone," said one of the activists, who asked not to be identified, and was part of a group that held an overnight vigil in the home and its garden.
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#شاهد| قوات الاحتلال تهدم منزل محمود صالحية بالكامل في حي الشيخ جراح بالقدس المحتلة.#انقذوا_حي_الشيخ_جراح#SaveSheikhJarrah pic.twitter.com/yR51ZiPHQn— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) January 19, 2022
Sheikh Jarrah has become an emblem of what Palestinians regard as an Israeli campaign to force them out of occupied East Jerusalem.
"Israel police completed the execution of an eviction order of illegal buildings built on grounds designated for a school for children with special needs from east Jerusalem," a police statement said.
Officers stressed that "members of the family living in the illegal buildings were given countless opportunities to hand over the land with consent".
A police spokesman said 18 family members and supporters were arrested during the operation for "violating a court order, violent fortification and disturbing public order".
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ركام منزل عائلة صالحية في حي الشيخ جراح بالقدس عقب هدمه الليلة من قبل قوات الاحتلال #عائله_صالحيه_تستغيث#انقذوا_حي_الشيخ_جراح#SaveSheikhJarrah pic.twitter.com/vzPEuICuOK— AlQastal القسطل (@AlQastalps) January 19, 2022
The Salhiya family has been facing the threat of eviction from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem since 2017, when the land where their home sits was allocated for school construction.
The looming eviction of other families from Shiekh Jarrah in May fuelled an 11-day of Israeli aggression, prompting reaction from armed Palestinian factions in Gaza.
Israel captured occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move not recognised by the international community.
More than 200,000 Jewish settlers have since moved into the area, fuelling tensions with Palestinians, who claim occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
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