Israeli Soldier Killed by Stone Thrown During West Bank Arrest Operation

Israeli troops arrest 11 Palestinians near Jenin in search for the perpetrators responsible for the death of 21-year-old Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Ygal

Yaniv Kubovich
Jack Khoury
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Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian man in the village of Yabad near the West Bank city of Jenin on May 12, 2020,
Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian man in the village of Yabad near the West Bank city of Jenin, May 12, 2020,Credit: AFP
Yaniv Kubovich
Jack Khoury

A soldier was killed early Tuesday morning by a stone dropped on his head during an operation to arrest Palestinian suspects in the West Bank, an Israeli military statement said.

The military named the soldier as 21-year-old Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Ygal, a resident of Ramat Gan.

Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Ygal.
Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Ygal.Credit: Amit Ben Ygal's Facebook account

At around 4 A.M., the military said, a unit from the Golani Brigade arrived at the town of Ya'bad, near Jenin, to arrest four Palestinians – two suspected of involvement in a terrorist organization, and two suspected of throwing stones. The military said Ben Ygal was wearing a helmet and that is unclear why the forces responsible for observation did not spot the perpetrators. The military said it is investigating the incident.  

An eyewitness in the town said Israeli troops arrested 11 people, all members of the same family, after the incident. Local reports also said four young people were wounded by rubber bullets. 

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian in the village of Ya'bad in the West Bank, May. 12, 2020.
Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian in the village of Ya'bad in the West Bank, May. 12, 2020.Credit: Majdi Mohammed,AP

On Tuesday evening, the Israeli military entered the village again and clashes erupted with local youth. Troops encircled one of the buildings with equipment used for home demolitions, according to Palestinian eye witnesses. 

A resident of the town told Haaretz that the incident occurred in the early morning when many residents were awake because of Ramadan. Clashes erupted after the troops arrived at the town, he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that "Israel's long arm will reach the terrorist and hold him accountable."

Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian man in the village of Yabad near the West Bank city of Jenin, May 12, 2020
Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian man in the village of Yabad near the West Bank city of Jenin, May 12, 2020Credit: AFP
Israeli soldier arrests a Palestinian woman in the village of Ya'bad in the West Bank, May 12, 2020.
Israeli soldier arrests a Palestinian woman in the village of Ya'bad in the West Bank, May 12, 2020. Credit: Majdi Mohammed,AP
Israeli soldiers detain Palestinians in the village of Ya'bad near the West Bank city of Jenin, May 12, 202
Israeli soldiers detain Palestinians in the village of Ya'bad near the West Bank city of Jenin, May 12, 202Credit: AFP

In his funeral, Ben Ygal's father said Amit was an only child. "I signed on for him to serve in a combat unit. In one moment I went from being a happy man to being miserable."

Defense Minister Naftali Bennet was present at the funeral and said the Golani Brigade will "go back there and find the bastard terrorist who did this."

In a similar incident in 2018, Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky was fatally injured when a heavy stone slab was thrown from the third floor of a building during arrests at the al-Am’ari refugee camp, near Ramallah.

A Palestinian, Islam Mohammed Yousef Naji, was sentenced to life in prison after confessing. According to the Shin Bet security service, he had decided to take revenge after his brother was arrested earlier in 2018.

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