An Israeli soldier from the elite unit Duvdevan died on Saturday from critical injuries he sustained during a military raid on a West Bank refugee camp near Ramallah, the Israel Defense Forces' Spokesperson's Office said.
Ronen Lubarsky, 20, from the central Israeli city of Rehovot, was critically injured when a heavy stone slab was thrown from the third floor of a building during arrests at the al-Am’ari refugee camp. The army unit was unable to pursue the attacker as they could not identify who had thrown the slab.
Lubarsky was evacuated to Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem in Jerusalem, where he was sedated and hooked up to a respirator. Though he was wearing full protective gear at the time of the incident, the impact of the slab shattered his helmet and caused a severe blow to his head.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed sorrow over the news of Lubarsky's death. "I send heartfelt condolences to his family," Netanyahu said Saturday evening. "The security forces will catch the terrorist and the State of Israel will bring him to justice."
The military said the raid targeted members of a cell involved in recent shooting attacks against Israelis. Three Palestinian suspects were taken to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.
The first set of Israeli forces that arrived at the site for the raid was undercover and surrounded the building where the wanted men were located. A larger force of the Duvdevan unit equipped with full protective gear arrived afterwards, including Lubarsky.
Lubarsky's death brings the amount of fallen Duvdevan soldiers to 18 since the unit was established in 1986. Most of the fallen soldiers were killed in training accidents or as a result of friendly fire during an operation – none of them were killed by enemy fire.
"We will learn and draw lessons from this event," the IDF spokesperson, Ronen Manlis, said after the incident. "During the Ramadan period there has been an increase in the number of attacks, and attempts to carry them out. This falls within the framework of the operation in the refugee camp," he concluded.