Israel Arrests Palestinian Suspect in Killing of Soldier


Israel said Wednesday its security forces have arrested a Palestinian suspect in last month's killing in the occupied West Bank of a soldier in an elite commando squad.

Staff Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, 20, was struck on the head by a granite slab thrown from an upstairs window during a May 24 arrest raid in Amari refugee camp in the city of Ramallah.

He died two days later and was eulogized by Israel's president and prime minister.

The Shin Bet internal security agency said that in a joint operation with the army it had captured the man it believed killed Lubarsky.

It named him in an Hebrew-language statement as Islam Yusuf Hamid, 32, a resident of Amari camp.

"In the course of his interrogation by the Shin Bet it became clear that Islam threw the rock that struck Lubarsky and caused his death," it said.

It said the suspect's brothers were militants of the Islamist movement Hamas who had carried out deadly anti-Israeli attacks, including the 1994 shooting death of Shin Bet agent Noam Cohen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Lubarsky's comrades in his Duvdevan special forces unit had taken part in his alleged killer's capture.

Israel's internal security minister vowed that all attackers of Israelis would pay a heavy price.

"Anyone considering carrying out a terror attack for nationalistic or religious reasons must know that he will either pay with his life, or languish many years in prison," Gilad Erdan said at an international conference on homeland security in Jerusalem.

The minister said he was working to slash privileges given to Palestinian assailants held in Israeli prisons.

Israeli victims and their families charge that jailed attackers are pampered, with access to education, television, books and newspapers.

Erdan, of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, said his goal was "to remove any and all privileges enjoyed by incarcerated terrorists, that go beyond the minimum of what Israeli or international law require."