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11 Funerals for IDF Commanders, Soldiers Held across Israel as Nation Mourns

Eleven funerals were held across Israel on Sunday, June 16, for IDF troops who died over the weekend in three separate incidents in fighting in the Gaza Strip. Most of the fallen soldiers laid to rest were killed in a blast in southern Gaza’s Rafah on Saturday morning, in what marked the deadliest incident for the IDF in the Strip since January.

According to an initial IDF probe, the troops were all killed inside a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV). There were no survivors. The soldiers had been driving in a convoy heading to buildings captured by the army, for the troops to rest following the overnight operation.

The Namer CEV was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, and at some point, it was hit by a major explosion. It was not immediately clear from the investigation if it was a bomb planted ahead of time or if Hamas operatives had approached the vehicle with an explosive device and directly placed it on the CEV.

The troops all served in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion. Seven of their funerals were held on Sunday, and the eighth will be held on Monday. The names of the fallen soldiers are Cpt. Wassem Mahmoud (23), Sgt. Eliyahu Moshe Zimbalist (21), Staff Sgt. Stanislav Kostarev (21), Sgt. Itay Amar (19), Staff Sgt. Oz Yeshaya Gruber (20), Staff Sgt. Orr Blumovitz (20), Sgt. Yakir Ya’akov Levi (21) and Sgt. Shalom Menachem (21).

Further, Cpt. (res.) Eitan Koplovich (28), and Warrant Officer (res.) Elon Weiss (41), from the IDF’s 8th Reserve Armored Brigade’s 129th Battalion, were killed by an explosive device detonated against their tank in northern Gaza over the weekend. Sgt. Yair Roitman (19), an IDF soldier who was seriously wounded last week in southern Gaza, succumbed to his wounds on Saturday and was buried in Karnei Shomron on Sunday. (TOI / VFI News)

“Our Heavenly Father, we pray for the families of the brave soldiers who died defending our people and ensuring our country remains safe from terrorists. We send our heartfelt condolences to them and pray in Yeshua’s name that You comfort them and give them Your peace that surpasses all understanding. May they live in loving remembrance of their loved ones, honor them, and share their testimonies with the world.”

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