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Palestinian teen killed in clashes with IDF amid uptick in West Bank violence

Army says rioters in al-Fawar hurled a rock at a soldier, lightly injuring him, a day after a serviceman was killed by a brick thrown at his head during an arrest raid in Yabed

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

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)

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead during predawn clashes with Israeli troops in the al-Fawar refugee camp near Hebron on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said, amid a general uptick in violence in the West Bank in recent days.

The Israel Defense Forces said a riot broke out during an arrest raid, forcing troops to use live fire as well as less lethal riot dispersal weapons.

The military said a soldier was lightly wounded by a rock thrown at him during the clashes.

The clashes came a day after an IDF soldier — Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, 21 — was killed when a brick was thrown at his head during an arrest raid in the northern West Bank village of Yabed. On Tuesday, Israeli security forces also thwarted an apparent attempted stabbing attack at the Qalandiya Crossing outside Jerusalem, in which a Palestinian tried to attack a border guard with a screwdriver, but was shot and injured before he could do so.

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)

A Palestinian health ministry spokesperson told AFP that Zaid Qaysia, 15, was killed by a live bullet to the head fired by Israeli troops in the al-Fawar refugee camp near Hebron in the southern West Bank.

Four more Palestinians were wounded during clashes.

The military said it was aware of “claims of a Palestinian being killed and a number of Palestinians being injured,” but refused to comment further.

15-year-old Zaid Fadel Al-Qaysiah who was killed in a clash with IDF troops in Fawwar on May 13, 2020. (Courtesy)

The uptick in violence in the West Bank came ahead of a visit to Israel by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss, among other things, a plan by the Israeli government to annex portions of the West Bank.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Ben-Ygal’s Golani Reconnaissance Battalion conducted a series of arrests in the village, west of Jenin. As they were making their 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 a brick at him.

Ben-Ygal, 21, was fatally wounded, 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. (Israel Defense Forces)

Following the attack, the IDF — together with the Shin Bet security service — launched an investigation to find the perpetrator of the attack.

Throughout the course of Tuesday, Israeli troops arrested 10 residents of the building from which the brick was thrown. They were not necessarily suspected of having perpetrated the attack, but were brought in for questioning, an army spokesperson said.

Palestinian media reported that the Israel Defense Forces had also sent a number of armored bulldozers and other heavy engineering vehicles into the town, sparking low-level clashes.

Ben-Ygal, from the central 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.

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