US/World News

Death of two Israeli soldiers raises death toll to 72

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Israel Defense Forces soldier Netanel Maman, who was hit by shrapnel in a rocket attack near Ashdod last week, died Friday, Aug. 29. Maman died three days after Israel and Hamas agreed on a cease-fire.

Maman, 22, had been fighting in Gaza during the recent campaign, and last Thursday came home for the weekend. Maman and his younger brother, Tamir, who serves in the Israeli Air Force, decided to make a quick run to a gas station near their home in Gan Yavne to buy cigarettes. Their father, a member of the Gan Yavne municipal council, tried to dissuade them from going, but they insisted.

The siren warning of an incoming rocket sounded as the two were stopped at a traffic light, their brother-in-law recounted. Tamir managed to flee the car and take cover, but Netanel did not make it out of the car. The Grad-type rocket exploded nearby, sending shrapnel flying in their direction. Netanel sustained shrapnel wounds mainly to the neck and head and was critically injured. His brother sustained light injuries and was released from the hospital the same day.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Sgt. Shahar Shalev, 20, died from wounds he had sustained during battle in Gaza.

Shalev was a soldier in the Paratroopers’ Brigade who was wounded on July 23. In the wake of his death, the overall Israeli death toll from this summer’s conflict with Hamas has risen to 72, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Yiska Dekel, the spokeswoman of Moshav Alonei Habashan in the Golan Heights, where Shalev lived, said in a statement reported by Haaretz that her community “bows its head in sorrow over the untimely death of one of its children, Shahar Shalev, who fought heroically for our country, was severely wounded early in Operation Protective Edge, and fought for his life until he passed on. Shahar, who was born and raised in Alonei Habashan, has become the first member of our community to fall in Israel’s wars. May he be the last. We thank the nation of Israel, which joined us in prayer.”

Shalev’s funeral was held on Monday, Sept. 1. His death comes just days after the death of Netanel Maman.

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