Israeli soldier dies after being hit in head with rock during West Bank raid


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli soldier died after being struck in the head with a large rock during a raid in a Palestinian village in the West Bank.

Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal, 21, was wearing a helmet when he was struck early Tuesday morning in the village of Yabed, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. He reportedly looked up through the site of his rifle to see who was throwing rocks at the troops when he was struck by the rock dropped from a roof. His death is the first military casualty in the West Bank this year.

“On behalf of myself and the citizens of Israel, I would like to send sincere condolences to the family of Amit Ben-Yigal, who was killed by depraved individuals during an operation last night. As has occurred in all the cases in recent years, the long arm of Israel will reach the terrorist and settle accounts with him,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

The father of Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal and other family and friends mourn at the soldier’s funeral in Be’er Ya’akov cemetery, after he was struck in the head and killed by a large rock thrown by a resident of the Palestinian village of Yabed during a military operation there on May 12, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Ben-Yigal was his father’s only child, and his father had to grant special permission for him to serve in a combat unit.

“I told him I’m proud of your decision,” Baruch Ben-Yigal told his son on the day of his conscription, according to Israel’s public broadcaster Kan. “I’m broken and shattered now.”

Israeli troops searched the village for the rock thrower later on Tuesday. They questioned residents and arrested 10 people, including family members, in connection with the attack.

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