The three Israeli paratroopers who died in the explosion of a Gaza home booby trapped with explosives on Wednesday were buried on Thursday.
The deaths of St.-Sgts. Li Mat, 19, of Eilat, Shahar Dauber, 20, of Kibbutz Ginegar and Lt. Paz Eliyahu, 22, of Kibbutz Evron, brought the total number of IDF dead in the current Gaza war to 32.
“I saw a military ambulance and understood that the worst had happened,” Eliyahu’s father, Uri, who had not seen his son for over a month, told Ma’ariv.
“He was very loyal to the army. This week he sent us a message with an officer from the kibbutz that everything is fine.”
“I hope that he is the last soldier to fall,” he told News 10, recalling that his son had said he would not come home until Israel’s mission in Gaza was completed.
Eliyahu was buried at his kibbutz.
Dauber, the son of Soviet immigrants, was buried in Ginegar and is survived by his parents and an older brother.
He was a popular boy, especially among his classmates, his high school teacher Ruhama Tamar told Channel 2.
“It is difficult and incomprehensible to talk about Shahar in the past tense,” Tamar said.
Michal Wolf, a youth activities coordinator from the Jezreel Valley who knew Dauber, recalled in an interview with Ma’ariv that he was “a boy full of life,” always willing to shoulder responsibilities and offer help to others.
Li Mat, a native of Eilat and a graduate of Goldwater High School, was buried at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.
According to the IDF, Mat’s family requested privacy and the funeral was closed to the press.