Israel soldier killed by rock hurled by Palestinian in West Bank

A Palestinian demonstrator throws a stone at Israeli forces during clashes in the West Bank on Feb 25. (AP pic)

JERUSALEM: An Israeli soldier was killed by a rock hurled by a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, an army spokeswoman told AFP.

A military statement said that the 21-year-old soldier was hit in the head “during operational activity” in the village of Yaabad near the northern city of Jenin.

The spokeswoman said she did not have further details but Israeli media said that troops subsequently carried out arrests at the house from which the rock was thrown.

The death came ahead of a visit to Israel Wednesday by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo said his talks in Jerusalem would include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex much of the occupied West Bank, despite warnings from the Palestinians that the move will kill the prospects of lasting peace.

In an interview published Tuesday in pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom, Pompeo was quoted as saying that annexation plans would be discussed in his Jerusalem talks but ultimately implementation would be an Israeli decision.

“We will share our opinions in the best way possible,” Pompeo told the paper.

“We’ve made clear what we believe meets the requirements of international law. We’ve made clear that Israel can make its legal decisions.”

In January, US President Donald Trump published a controversial plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that gives US blessing to Israel’s annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank, even though the United Nations warns it would be a violation of international law.