Palestinian rock thrower kills IDF soldier; first army death in 2020

He was the first IDF soldier to be killed in 2020.

By World Israel News Staff

An IDF combat soldier was killed early Tuesday morning when a rock was thrown by a Palestinian at his head during operational activity in the village of Ya’bad, west of Jenin in northern Samaria.

The operation was almost completed when the incident occurred as the rock was thrown from the roof of the very last house just as the IDF soldiers were leaving the village, the Israeli Army reports.

Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal, 21, served in the Golani Brigade Reconnaissance Unit. He was posthumously promoted from Staff Sergeant to Sergeant 1st Class.

His family in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv has been notified. The IDF expressed its heartfelt condolences to the family.

Amit’s father, Baruch Ben Yigal, told Channel 11 on Tuesday said that his son wanted to be in Golani and he had signed off on it. He said Amit was his only child. “I have nothing but him. I can’t even cry. I can’t even digest this terrible disaster,” he said.

A picture of Amit’s girlfriend circulated on social media shows her sitting on the ground crying. “He promised me he would return over the weekend and he said yesterday he would be careful and he wasn’t careful,” she said.

Ben Yigal is the first IDF soldier to be killed in 2020.

IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Hedy Silberman said, “We made four arrests tonight. It is a hostile village. Ten kilometers west of Jenin. It specializes in throwing stones at the axis [road] leading to Mevo Dotan. There were local stone throwers from the village throughout the night – stone throwers in groups of 10. Two of those arrested were stone throwers and two were involved in terror activities.”

Silberman added, “The incident happened around 4:30 in the morning. It was after the fighters cut contact from the target, after making the arrests, and were starting to leave the village.

“A stone was thrown from one of the roofs, like the last house in the village. The soldier was wearing a helmet but the stone struck from an angle in a very bad way. He was evacuated to brigade and from there by helicopter to Rambam hospital.

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“It’s a relatively small village. We’re making an investigation in the area and trying to find the guy who threw it. It’s a big rock, a small block, not a stone or marble slab.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his sorrow. “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.”