IDF troops and Shin Bet officials have been searching for the Palestinian suspect who killed St.-Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal on Monday night during an operation in the West Bank. Some 20 people in Ya'bad have been arrested in the last 48 hours.
The forces carried out an operation in Ya'bad and arrested several suspects who are currently being questioned by the Shin Bet.Ben Yigal was first soldier killed this year. He was buried Tuesday evening in the military cemetery of Be’er Ya’acov, with hundreds in attendance. Ben Yigal, 21 years old from Ramat Gan, was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant first class.At around 4.30 a.m., after completing the arrests, troops began to leave the village when a group of 10 locals began throwing stones towards the troops who were making their way out of the village by foot.After two stones were thrown at the troops, it is believed that the suspect took the opportunity to drop the rock on Ben Yigal’s face as he was looking up with his rifle to identify who was throwing the stones. While two soldiers opened fire towards the roof, they were unable to identify who threw the deadly rock.According to IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman, the large rock was thrown from the roof of one of the homes on the outskirts of the village as troops were leaving the village. “The rock hit the soldier directly in the head,” Zilberman told reporters. “The soldier was wearing a helmet. But it hit him at an angle.”Ben Yigal received treatment from medics at the scene before being evacuated to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center’s intensive care unit by helicopter, where he succumbed to his wounds.Ben Yigal's father told Army Radio that his son requested to join a combat unit after visiting the death camps in Poland.“I said to him, Amit, you are my only son, you have to understand what this means. He responded that we have no other country and I went with him to Tel Hashomer to sign – and I told him how proud I was of him,” Ben Yigal's father said.“I signed the form... I signed the consent form for my only son. He wanted Sayeret Golani... What can I tell you?”
On Wednesday, a joint protest by parents and Im Tirzu activists was carried out in Tel Aviv calling for extreme measures to be taken against terrorists. Among them, using the death penalty, deporting the families of terrorists, and changing the protocol for opening fire on enemy targets.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.