An Israeli soldier was killed during a Palestinian stabbing attack when gunfire meant for his assailant hit him instead, The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.
Eliav Gelman, a 30-year-old captain in the Israeli Air Force’s reserve corps, was returning home from base when he was attacked at the Etzion Junction in the West Bank by Mamduh Amro, a teacher from the Palestinian town of Dura who was armed with a knife. While it is unclear whether Amro managed to stab Gelman, an initial investigation found that Gelman was hit by bullets fired by two IDF soldiers who tried to subdue his attacker.
Gelman left behind a wife and two young sons, and was described as a deeply religious man by his brother Eyal. “He was the best of the group. Eliav was excellent, exact, loved and loving, he was connected to the people of Israel, the land of Israel, the Torah of Israel,” Eyal told reporters who gathered in the hospital where his brother was declared dead. “He died in a battle we’ve been experiencing for a long time.”
According to Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency services, 32 people have been killed and over 350 injured in 188 stabbings and attempted stabbing attacks, 75 shootings, and 39 car-ramming attacks since September 13, 2015.
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 24, 2016
Gelman’s brother-in-law Benaya Sarel was killed in an ambush during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
In How Hamas Destroys Its People, as Seen Through the Eyes of IDF Soldiers, which was published in the September 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Sgt. Johnny S. described the circumstances surrounding Sarel’s death.
Another time during a ceasefire we were in a house and a 16-year-old boy came into the neighborhood that was supposed to be fully evacuated. So my company commander went out to talk to him, because you know, you don’t know who’s a Hamas affiliate and who’s not. So he talked to him and said, “We know there’s a tunnel in the area, do you know where it is?” And the boy was clearly innocent. You could tell right away. He said “no, we don’t have food, so I just came to the neighborhood to try to find food for my family.”
We had like 30 people in the house and we were supposed to have food rations for 24 hours. So the company commander sent his radio control operator upstairs to gather all of our food for the next 24 hours. It was like olives, tuna, beans, nothing that delicious, you know, corn and stuff. And he put it all in a big box. On his way out, I was on guard duty with a guy named Hadar. We had just opened up a pack of gummy worms we had gotten as a donation from Israel, and we put that in there as well.
And it was nice, the company commander sent the boy off with the cardboard box. It was nice. We didn’t have food for the next 12 hours; we just had some bread, but he told us were going to get new rations in 12 hours and you don’t know when this kid is going to get food again.
I really respect him for that. He had a really good heart. This is the same commander who had the conversation with the father about shakshouka. His name was Benaya Sarel.
It was an hour after the ceasefire, and I think they purposely put a man that looked like a civilian, just a normal man, to kind of entice us to come out to go talk to him, and then waiting down below were a bunch of explosives and a suicide bomber.
On Friday morning [August 1] we went outside and there was a man who was watching from a window. We didn’t know at the time that he was with Hamas. He was about a 40-year-old guy, wearing a blue t-shirt. He didn’t have a gun on him, or not that we saw at least. He had his hands over a windowsill, looking out from the window of a 2-story building. It was an hour after the ceasefire had taken effect. It had gone into effect at 8 AM that morning and it was a little after 9 AM.
So it was the company commander that I keep talking about, Benaya Sarel, Hadar Goldin, and Liel Gidoni, the radio operator who went upstairs to get the food for the kid the other day. It was six of us: those three, me and two others.
Benaya didn’t feel any imminent danger, or else he wouldn’t have done that. He just didn’t want the guy to run away and get scared. So the three of them walked towards him, and from my point I heard shots ring out and an explosion. And this was supposed to be during a ceasefire.
By the time we got there, it had ended. What had happened was that a suicide bomber had come out of a tunnel on the first level of the building where that man was, and had killed all three of them. And I guess the man up above and whoever else was in there, I think it was a few of them, they had dragged Hadar’s body down the tunnel that was on the first floor.
I think the whole thing was a trap. It was an hour after the ceasefire, and I think they purposely put a man that looked like a civilian, just a normal man, to kind of entice us to come out to go talk to him, and then waiting down below were a bunch of explosives and a suicide bomber.
When we heard the shots, we ran back to get to them but it had already ended. When we got there, we saw two dead bodies: Benaya and Liel. They had died immediately from the explosives and the suicide bomber. The suicide bomber was dressed in an Israeli uniform.
[Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90 ]