Palestinian man suspected of dropping marble slab on soldier’s head arrested


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian man suspected of killing an Israeli soldier by dropping a marble slab on his head has been arrested.

The Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, announced on Wednesday that it had arrested Islam Yousef Abu Hamid, 32, last week after the lifting of a gag order on the arrest; the rest of the case remains under a gag order.

Staff Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky of the Israel Defense Forces elite Duvdevan unit died on May 26, two days after a slab of marble was dropped on his head from three floors up during a military raid on a Palestinian refugee camp near Ramallah targeting members of a terror cell involved in recent attacks and shootings against Israelis.

Hamid, a resident of the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah was arrested after ISA intelligence indicated that he was suspected of having thrown the marble slab, the Shin Bet said in a statement. “During the investigation it became clear that Hamid had indeed thrown the slab in question from an adjacent building,” the statement said.


Hamid’s brothers are Hamas members who have carried out several terrorist attacks that led to the deaths of Israelis, including the Feb. 13, 1994 shooting death of Shin Bet operative Noam Cohen, the agency said in the statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the security agency and the IDF for the arrest during an appearance before reporters at the start of his meeting on Wednesday with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

“During the mourning period, we promised that we would find the terrorist who killed the late Ronen Lubarsky. Today I would like to praise the IDF and the ISA for a very impressive intelligence-operational operation. It was a Duvdevan fighter who was killed, and it was the Duvdevan unit that apprehended the terrorist. We will continue to deal with whoever tries to attack, and attacks, Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, to the fullest extent of the law,” Netanyahu said.

The announcement of the arrest comes on the same day as the head of the Israel Security Agency told an international conference of public security ministers being held in Jerusalem that the Shin Bet had foiled about 250 250 “significant terror attacks” since January.

Nadav Argaman said that fewer attacks are being carried out by organized terror groups and more by unaffiliated individuals, called lone-wolf attacks.

He said the prevented attacks included suicide bombings, kidnappings, and shootings.