A 21-year-old Israeli sergeant was killed on Tuesday after a large rock was thrown at his head during a predawn raid in a Palestinian town, the Israeli Defense Forces confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.
IDF spokesman Hidai Zilberman said that Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal was taking part in an operation in Ya’bad, in northern West Bank, to arrest four Palestinian terrorists.
When the Israeli soldiers were escorting the four terrorists, someone hurled the rock off a rooftop at Ben Yigal at around 4:30 a.m. local time. Despite the soldier wearing a helmet, he was heavily wounded and was later pronounced dead in a hospital.
Ben Yigal, who was posthumously promoted to sergeant first class, has become the first IDF death inaction of this year. The military said they had launched an investigation and troops were operating in the village searching for those who threw the rock.
Several top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, condemned the attack and offered their condolences to the soldier’s family.
No group has claimed responsibility for his death yet, although Gaza’s Hamas terrorist group praised the attack in a statement.
“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 terrorist group said.