Sunday, January 09, 2011

25 Meters from Death

Gaza residents have fired mortal shells into Israel and planted bombs all week, as they have for several weeks prior; some Thai agricultural workers were injured this week from some of their shells.

My step-son Eitan returned from patrol on Friday evening and went to sleep. He was awakened shortly after and told that militants were in the area. A sharpshooter team was dispatched, and simultaneously a group of soldiers in control of a Keshet mortar system was told to target the militants.

It's still unclear as to what caused the error: a software problem, or an input problem. I'm not sure why both a sharpshooter team and a mortar team were assigned the task. Whatever the reason, at least one shell from the Keshet fell on the sharpshooter team. Nadav Rotenberg lost his arm and leg and died a few hours later. A commander had his face blown off ("moderately wounded"), and three other Israeli soldiers were injured.

Eitan was 25 meters away from the explosion. He was among those who tried to give first aid.

I remember Eitan telling me about one of his paratrooper jumps a few months ago; he told us that one of the soldiers broke his leg when he landed but still walked to the target location; it was his job to serve as a beacon for the other jumpers. Apparently, that was Nadav. Returning after a ten week recuperation, Nadav was told to stay out of combat, but he refused.

He was one of Eitan's friends. The funeral is today.

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