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Friends, family pay tribute to five fallen IDF soldiers
Five Israeli combat troops killed by mortar fire from Gaza on Thursday are laid to rest.
Friends and family gathered on Friday to pay tribute to the five soldiers killed by mortar fire on Thursday.

The IDF Spokesman’s Unit released the names on Friday of the combat soldiers, who were serving in the Armored Corps. The soldiers were operating on the Israeli side of the border in the Eshkol region when they were hit by Hamas mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip.

Sergeant First Class (res.) Daniel Marash, 22, from Rishon Lezion was discharged from the IDF earlier this year but was called for reserve duty.

Just two days ago he and his fellow soldiers were hosted by a family in the South prior to entering Gaza.  Marash left them a parting thank you note which the family released on their Facebook page on Friday.

"Thank you for the warm and relaxing hospitality," Marash wrote. "I was very happy to meet you and see that there are good people like you in the country - you are turning our country into such a special and beautiful place."

He left his phone number in the note and told them not to hesitate to call should they need anything.

He is survived by his parents and three siblings.

Marash was laid to rest on Friday afternoon in the military section of Holon cemetery.

Yoram Tal, the father of fallen soldier Capt. Omri Tal, 22, from Yehud told Channel 2 on Friday that “My son was a beautiful boy; he was like a movie star."

“He knew from the North to the South every hiking trail in this country and every free day that he had he would go out hiking,” he said.

His father added that he had been worried and had called Tal every few hours to see what his status was, but on Thursday his son no longer answered and he knew that he had gone into Gaza, he said.

"I lost my dear son and I loved him with all my soul but life will go on and I choose life and we will go on as a family, as a society, and as a nation," his father said choking on tears.

Details for his funeral have yet to be released.

St.-Sgt. Shay Kushnir, 20, of Kiryat Motzkin in the outskirts of Haifa dreamed of serving in a combat position in the armed forces despite having gone to school at the Technological School of the Air Force in Haifa.

A day before his death, Kushnir's father wrote a message on his son's Facebook page, "I really, really, really miss you," he wrote.

"I am living with a feeling that I haven't seen you in years. How are you responding to every situation that you encountered, you and all the youth that have befallen this difficult task?

“The role of human shields for our tiny country in Operation Protective Edge that with every day that passes turns from an operation to a war in every sense of this horrible word, but I know and believe that you and you friends are strong, determined and full of motivation to complete this difficult task which has fallen to you," his father wrote.

Kushnir was laid to rest on Friday afternoon in the military section of Kiryat Ata cemetery.

St.-Sgt. Noam Rosenthal, 20, from Meitar, and Capt. (res.) Liran Adir (Edry), 31, of Ezuz were also killed in Gaza on Thursday.
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