Thousands of people on Wednesday attended the funeral of St.-Sgt. Tamir Nabuani, who died Tuesday after falling off a cliff during a navigation exercise in the South. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Julis. Nabuani, 19, was the first Druse soldier to almost finish training for the IDF's General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal). While he was not the first Druse to be accepted into Sayeret Matkal - the military's most elite special forces unit - he was, IDF sources said, the first soldier from the Druse sector to reach such an advanced stage in the training. All of the Druse soldiers before him had been removed from the course at an earlier stage. Nabuani had been a month from completing the training course. As part of the elite unit's training regimen, soldiers are sent to the Negev desert on their own for navigation training. During the exercise, Nabuani fell from a cliff and died of his wounds. Sayeret Matkal is one of the only units in the IDF that sends its soldiers for navigation exercises on their own. In the early 1990s, two soldiers died of dehydration while on such an exercise in the Negev. The Military Police opened an investigation into the incident and OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin appointed an officer with the rank of colonel to lead a parallel probe. "He would always call me from the army to give updates on what he was going through," Nabuani's brother Nizar said Tuesday. "On Saturday we spoke and he said he was going to begin a tough period of training. I told him - 'you are a top-grade fighter, you know yourself and it will be all right.'" After enlisting into the army, Nabuani was sent for Sayeret Matkal tryouts which he passed with flying colors. Known in the IDF as the "Unit," Sayeret Matkal's main missions are collecting intelligence deep in enemy territory, and most of its operations remain secret for decades.