Israeli Soldier Critically Injured During Raid on Palestinian Refugee Camp

IDF says a heavy stone slab was dropped on the soldier during arrest of wanted Palestinians, hitting his head

Israeli soldiers at a West Bank village near Ramallah, 2017.
Amira Hass

An Israeli soldier in an elite unit was critically injured early Thursday morning during a military raid on a West Bank refugee camp near Ramallah.

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The IDF said in a statement that the soldier, from the Duvdevan unit, was hit on the head by a heavy stone slab dropped on him from the third floor of a building during arrests carried out at the al-Am’ari Refugee Camp.

He was evacuated to the Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem in Jerusalem, and his family was notified of his condition. He is sedated and on a respirator.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated.

The military said the raid targeted members of a cell involved in recent terrorist attacks and shootings against Israelis. A suspect was arrested during the raid and two other suspects were arrested later in the day, the military said. The suspects had been handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.

The raid took place after inteligence information indicated the wanted men intended on carrying out another attack soon. The forces surrounded the buildings where the wanted men were thought to be hiding.

Even though all the soldiers were wearing full protective gear, the stone slab hit the soldier's helmet and shattered it,and caused a severe blow to his head. The IDF said the force did not shoot at the attacker because they were not able to identify who had dropped the slab.

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the military would study the incident and draw conclusions. 

The number of terrorist attacks and attempts to carry out attacks has increased during the month of the Ramadan fast, said Manelis.The raid was conducted in response to these attacks, he added.

In a separate incident late Wednesday night, a Palestinian in his 20s opened fire at Border Police officers at a checkpoint just south of Jerusalem. The police officers were not injured. They arrested the Palestinian assailant after a chase. A pistol and knife were found on his person.