Military Court Convicts Palestinian Man of Murdering Israeli Soldier

Islam Mohammed Yousef Naji, 32, confessed he threw the marble slab that killed special forces soldier Ronen Lubarsky, 20, during a raid on a West Bank refugee camp in May

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A photo of Ronen Lubarsky superimposed on an image of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank
A photo of Ronen Lubarsky superimposed on an image of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

An Israeli military court convicted a 32-year-old Palestinian man of first degree murder on Sunday in the killing of a soldier last May, an IDF spokesperson said.

Islam Mohammed Yousef Naji, a resident of a refugee camp near Ramallah, was arrested in July after intelligence suggested he threw the marble slab that led to the death of Ronen Lubarsky, from the elite Duvdevan unit, on May 24, 2018.

The three military judges convicted Naji in a unanimous decision based on his confession. His sentencing will be given at a later date.

According to the Shin Bet, Naji's brother was a Hamas terrorist who was involved in a number of attacks. Some of the investigation's details are still under a gag order. 

Lubarsky, a 20-year old 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 in 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.

Ronen Lubarsky, 21, died of his wounds, May 26, 2018.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

The military said at the time that the raid targeted members of a cell involved in shooting attacks against Israelis. A suspect was arrested during the raid and two other suspects were arrested later in the day. 

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.

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.

Duvdevan is an elite special forces unit which carries out the largest number of anti-terrorism operations in the West Bank

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.

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