Palestinian man arrested for allegedly dropping marble slab on Israeli soldier’s head


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian man suspected of killing an Israeli soldier by dropping a marble slab on his head has been arrested.

Islam Yousef Abu Hamid, 32, was arrested last week after the lifting of a gag order on the arrest, the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, announced Wednesday. The rest of the case remains under a gag order.

Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky of the army’s elite Duvdevan unit died on May 26, two days after a slab of marble was dropped on his head from three floors up during a military raid on a Palestinian refugee camp near Ramallah. The raid targeted members of a terror cell involved in recent attacks and shootings against Israelis.

Hamid, a resident of the Amari refugee camp, was arrested after security agency intelligence indicated that he was suspected of having thrown the marble slab, the agency said in a statement.

“During the investigation it became clear that Hamid had indeed thrown the slab in question from an adjacent building,” the statement said.

Hamid’s brothers are Hamas members who have carried out several terrorist attacks that led to the deaths of Israelis, including the 1994 shooting death of Shin Bet operative Noam Cohen, the agency said in the statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the security agency and the Israel Defense Forces for the arrest, calling it a “very impressive intelligence-operational operation.”

“During the mourning period, we promised that we would find the terrorist who killed the late Ronen Lubarsky,” Netanyahu said at an appearance before reporters at the start of his meeting Wednesday with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Jerusalem.

The announcement of the arrest came on the same day as the head of the Israel Security Agency told an international conference of public security ministers being held in Jerusalem that the agency had foiled about 250 “significant terror attacks” since January.

Nadav Argaman said that fewer attacks are being carried out by organized terror groups and more by unaffiliated individuals, called lone-wolf attacks.

He said the prevented attacks included suicide bombings, kidnappings and shootings.

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