Family of killed railway worker backs gov't actions

"We are all in shock. We are not used to Katyushas falling in this area."

By
July 17, 2006 03:38
3 minute read.
casualties of war special

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The family of one of the eight Israel Railways employees killed Sunday in the Hizbullah rocket attack on the Haifa railway maintenance depot said that despite its tragic loss it believes the steps taken by the government over the past few days are the right ones. In an interview from the Kiryat Yam home of his brother-in-law Asael Damti, Nir Kuner told The Jerusalem Post that Damti had been a proud Zionist, volunteering Thursday for reserve duty at his air force base even though he was not needed. He had headed out to work Sunday morning at the depot despite the risks of falling Katyushas across the northern part of country because he believed the railways were a strategic part of Israel's infrastructure that had to be taken care of in any situation. "He went to work and never came back," said Kuner. "What makes it even harder is that a good friend of his died with him in the attack. Nissim Elharar introduced Asael to my sister." Kuner said that Damti, who was originally from Karmiel, married his sister Tali two years ago. Last week the couple had celebrated the first birthday of their daughter, Danielle. "Now she is completely destroyed," said Kuner of his sister. "We are all in shock. We are not used to Katyushas falling in this area." Kuner said that the family only heard about Damti's death several hours after the rockets fell on Haifa at 9:10 a.m. He said that a family member had been working at the Haifa Port nearby and had seen the Katyushas hit the Israel Railways depot where Damti and the others killed in the attack had been working. An eyewitness at the scene said that the workers had been given little warning that the rockets were coming, and despite the proximity of a shelter in the depot, none of the workers managed to take cover in time. The rocket scored a direct hit, killing eight people and wounding 40, four seriously, said an Israel Railways spokeswoman. Kuner said that by the time Damti's relative had reached the depot, the bodies had been removed and the wounded evacuated to nearby Rambam Hospital. He said that the family then went to the hospital searching for Damti in the hope he was still alive, discovering only later that he had been killed. "It is important for us to show that we still support the government of Israel and believe it is taking the right steps to prevent any more Israelis from falling victims to these terrorists," said Kuner, who currently lives in London and returned to Israel on Friday to show support for his family. Rafi Hazan had been married only two and a half months when he was killed in Sunday's attack on the maintenance depot. He had been living with his wife, Vered, in his mother's apartment in Haifa until two weeks ago when the couple moved into their own apartment in Karmiel. Luviah Feldman, who works in Rambam Hospital's blood bank, found out fairly quickly that her son, David, had been among those killed. After searching for his name among the list of wounded brought to the hospital and trying to reach him on his mobile phone, Feldman concluded that something terrible had happened to her son, who was to have celebrated his 28th birthday in two weeks. "I did not see his name," she told Ynet. "But he did not answer his phone either so I knew that something bad had happened." David Feldman and his girlfriend, Karmit, had been talking of getting married soon and they had started looking for a suitable venue for the wedding. Also killed in the attack were Nissim Elharari, 43, of Kiryat Ata, who leaves his wife, Orly and three children, Noa, Nadav and Dor; Reuven Levy, 46, of Kiryat Haim, who was buried Sunday night and leaves his wife, Tirza, and 14-year-old daughter, Almog; Shlomo Mansura, 35, of Nahariya; Dennis Lapidos, 24, of Kiryat Yam; and Shmuel Ben-Shimon, 41, of Yokne'am Illit.

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