IDF believes it may have caught soldier’s killer, but case remains open
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IDF believes it may have caught soldier’s killer, but case remains open

Though several suspects have been arrested, military struggling to identify the person who threw the brick that struck Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal earlier this week

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Israeli troops interrogate a Palestinian man as part of a manhunt for the person who threw a brick at Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, killing him, in the West Bank village of Yabed on May 13, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops interrogate a Palestinian man as part of a manhunt for the person who threw a brick at Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, killing him, in the West Bank village of Yabed on May 13, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli military on Thursday said it may have caught the person who killed an IDF soldier earlier this week by throwing a brick at him, though the Shin Bet security service said the case remains open.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion carried out a series of arrests in the northern West Bank village of Yabed. As they were making their way out of the Palestinian village, a brick thrown from the roof of a three-story building struck and killed Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The military has arrested many of the building’s residents, as well as other people in the village who may have been involved. Investigators believe that the killer may be among those detained, but they are unable to know for sure, as the identity of the person who allegedly threw the rock was not yet known.

“I know that a number of arrests were made last night. Maybe it’s one of them,” an army spokesperson said.

All of those arrested have denied involvement in the crime, the Walla news site reported Thursday, citing defense officials.

Israeli troops search for the person who threw a brick at Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, killing him, in the West Bank village of Yabed on May 13, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Shin Bet, which is conducting the investigation with the IDF, flatly denied that a specific suspect had been arrested.

“The investigation is ongoing,” the security service said.

According to the IDF’s initial investigation, as the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion was making its way out of the town at roughly 4:30 a.m., 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 the brick at him. Ben-Ygal was fatally wounded. He 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)

The soldiers on the ground were not able to see the rock thrower on the roof as he was out of their line of sight, making it difficult to identify the killer.

Ben-Ygal, 21, 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.

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