(photo credit: )
St.-Sgt. Osher Damari, 20, from Netanya, was killed Monday morning after a large explosive device detonated next to a force from the Haruv Battalion that was searching the West Bank city of Nablus for a suicide bomber on his way to Israel. Six other soldiers were wounded in the explosion, including the son of OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, who was said to be in moderate condition.
A body part belonging to the dead soldier was left at the scene but was later transferred to the IDF by Palestinian security forces in Nablus. Earlier, hundreds of Palestinians had gathered at the scene of the explosion to view parts of the soldier's leg, and many of them reacted with celebratory chants, witnesses said.
Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Yair Golan said the Haruv soldiers entered the old Nablus marketplace before dawn Monday and rounded up five terror suspects. On their way back to their armored convoy, a large explosive device was thrown at the troops and detonated. Damari absorbed most of the blast and died instantly while six of his comrades were wounded - one seriously, two moderately and three lightly.
Damari was buried Monday night in the Netanya military cemetery.
Golan said that after he was updated on the situation he called Naveh and informed the general about his wounded son. "He took the news with self-discipline and asked questions about the other wounded like he does about all soldiers," Golan recalled. "Then he immediately went to be by his son's hospital bed."
The events on the northern front, Golan said, were also felt in the West Bank where Hizbullah, he claimed, was trying to establish terror cells and encourage anti-Israel attacks. In the past month, said Golan, the number of terror alerts originating in the West Bank has drastically increased as a result of the events in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.
Damari was described by his father as "the best boy in the world."
"He loved the army and wanted to be a combat soldier, nothing less," Gerar Damari said in an interview with Ynet. "There was a time when he was transferred to another unit and could have stayed there and gone home every day, but he contested the transfer and fought hard to get back to his unit."
Born and raised in Netanya, the family business - Flowers of Happiness (osher) - was named after him. Osher was supposed to have received an IDF excellence award, said his father.
Osher is survived by his parents Avigail and Gerar and two siblings, Yuval and Shuval.
Ruth Eglash and AP contributed to this report.