Palestinian Who Killed Israeli Soldier During West Bank Raid Sentenced to Life in Prison

Islam Mohammed Yousef Naji threw a marble slab that killed special forces soldier Ronen Lubarsky in 2018

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

An Israeli military court sentenced on Monday a 32-year-old Palestinian to life in prison for deliberately killing an Israeli soldier during an army raid in the West Bank in 2018.

Islam Mohammed Yousef Naji, resident of a refugee camp near Ramallah, was also ordered to pay 258,000 shekels ($73,000) in compensation for Ronen Lubarsky's family over two years.

Naji was arrested in July after intelligence suggested he threw a marble slab that led to the death of 20-year-old Staff Sergeant Lubarsky from the elite Duvdevan unit.

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

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Following his brother's arrest by the Israeli army in January 2018, Naji decided to take revenge, the military court heard. He would watch Israel Defense Forces' soldiers from his rooftop, and on May 24, 2018, at about 6:00 A.M., he threw an 18-kilo marble slab toward two soldiers.

The marble hit Lubarsky and fractured his skull. Naji fled the scene and Lubarsky was evacuated to the hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds two days after his injury.

On the night following the attack, Naji returned to the site with his face concealed, donning gloves in the hope of wiping his fingerprints off the marble.

According to the court, he scattered bottles and bags on the roof to create the impression that the marble couldn't have been thrown off that roof without causing noise. Naji was convicted of first degree murder, and obstruction of justice at his own confession.

In 2005 Naji had been convicted of membership in the Hamas military wing and firing seven bullets toward a military jeep. He was sentenced to 66 months in prison and a fine.

Judge Etti Adar said that "the defendant was convicted of the most heinous crime, which is taking someone's life." Addressing the Lubarsky family's demand for heightened compensation, she said that the criminal proceeding is not the appropriate venue for discussing damages, nor does it have the tools to address this civilian matter.

Adar also noted that no amount could relieve the pain the family feels, and the compensation that she did rule is merely some acknowledgement of the enormous harm caused to the family.