An Israeli soldier was killed Tuesday morning during a West Bank arrest raid when a rock thrown off a rooftop struck him in the head, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.
The soldier was identified as 21-year-old St.-Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal from Ramat Gan, a city in the Tel Aviv district.
“I have nothing else, he was my whole world,” Baruch, father of Israeli soldier
“He was my only son,” his father, Baruch, said in an interview Tuesday night with Israeli radio station Reshet Bet. “I have nothing else, he was my whole world…I spoke with him every day on Zoom and Whatsapp…Such a tragedy befell me tonight, I don’t know how to start to comprehend it. I can’t even cry… I don’t know how to keep going. It’s a tragedy, a tragedy…”
Baruch Ben Yigal told the radio station that his son wanted to join a combat unit after visiting concentration camps in Poland.
The IDF said Amit Ben-Yigal was on “operational activity” near the West Bank city of Jenin, when a large rock was thrown off a rooftop, hitting him squarely on the head. A search for his attacker has been initiated.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesman, added that the forces had completed their mission and were leaving the village of Yaabed when Ben-Yigal was attacked.
The IDF tends to execute predawn raids like this one against wanted militants in the West Bank. Sometimes, they face local resistance on these missions. However, the killing of a soldier is rare. Ben-Yigal was the first military casualty of the year.
Tuesday’s raid was aimed at arresting four Palestinians wanted for throwing stones at Israeli vehicles, among other recent attacks. On Monday, Israeli forces leveled the home of a Palestinian terrorist who was accused of orchestrating a deadly bombing in the West Bank last year, according to an Associated Press report.
Hamas praised the attack saying and claimed that Palestinians are fighting against Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank, in Judea and Samaria.
“The incident proves the ability of our people in the West Bank to continue their struggle against the occupation until the Israeli military and the settlements are pushed out,” the militant group said in a statement. They added that their “resistance” will continue despite American support for Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences to the family, adding, “like what has happened in all cases in recent years, Israel’s long arm will find the terrorist.”