Fresh clashes reported as troops raid West Bank town where soldier was killed

At least one Palestinian injured after being shot with rubber-coated bullet during searches for person who threw rock or brick at Amit Ben-Ygal day earlier, killing him

Palestinians run from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the village of Yabad in the West Bank, May 12, 2020. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)
Palestinians run from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the village of Yabad in the West Bank, May 12, 2020. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Clashes between troops and Palestinians broke out Tuesday night during a raid on a West Bank town where an IDF soldier was killed the night before, according to Palestinian media reports.

The Israel Defense Forces soldiers were operating in the northern West Bank village of Yabad as they searched for perpetrators of the overnight attack, in which Golani Brigade soldier Amit Ben-Ygal died after being struck in the head by a stone or large brick apparently thrown from a roof.

Official Palestinian news outlet Wafa reported that one young man was injured after being struck by a rubber-coated bullet and several others needed to be treated for tear gas-related injuries.

Palestinian media reported that the clashes were sparked when the IDF sent a number of armored bulldozers and other heavy engineering vehicles into the town.

There was no immediate confirmation from the military.

Troops raided the village three times Tuesday as they searched for perpetrators of the deadly attack.

The military said it had detained upwards of 10 people as of Tuesday night, though not all were suspects.

“Soldiers are continuing to search the area and are working to trap the terrorist,” the military said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Among those arrested were residents of the building the object was thrown from amid ongoing searches for the perpetrator or perpetrators of the deadly attack.

According to the IDF’s initial investigation, in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion conducted a series of arrests in the village, west of Jenin.

Israeli troops patrol in the northern West Bank village of Yabad after a soldier was killed there during a raid, May, 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

As they were making their way out of the town at roughly 4:30 a.m., Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal apparently heard a sound coming from one of the rooftops on the outskirts of the village and looked up. As he did, exposing his face, someone on the roof of the three-story building threw a brick at him.

Ben-Ygal, 21, received treatment at the scene before being flown by helicopter to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, who was killed when a rock was thrown at his head during an arrest raid in the northern West Bank village of Yabed on May 12, 2020. (Social media)

Ben-Ygal, from the central Israeli city of Ramat Gan, was the first IDF soldier to be killed in action in 2020. He was posthumously promoted from staff sergeant to sergeant first class.

His funeral was held on Tuesday evening in the military plot of the Be’er Yaakov cemetery in central Israel, the army said. Hundreds of people attended, breaking Health Ministry regulations which cap funeral attendance at 50 people.

Some members of Ben-Ygal’s unit attended his funeral, while others took part in the search effort for his killer.

Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Amit Ben-Ygal at the cemetery in the central city of Beer Yaakov, May 12, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Ben-Ygal’s death came two years after IDF soldier Ronen Lubarsky was killed when he too was struck on the head by a marble slab that was thrown at him from the third floor of a building in the al-Amari Palestinian refugee camp near Ramallah.

On May 24, 2018, Lubarsky — a member of the elite Duvdevan commando unit — was taking part in an arrest raid when Islam Yousef Abu Hamid threw the large slab at him. The 20-year-old Israeli sergeant — promoted posthumously to staff sergeant — died of his injuries two days later.

Hamid was convicted of murder last April.

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