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Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral Thursday for a 21-year-old Israeli soldier who was only a month away from completing his military service when he was killed by a missile fired from the Gaza Strip.
Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, a member of the Nahal Infantry Brigade’s 931st Battalion, died Wednesday when the anti-tank missile hit his jeep, wounding two other soldiers.
“He was full of love and calm,” Tabib’s mother, Tali, said at the cemetery in Moshav Elyakim, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“He loved and was loved by people. He was full of happiness and he respected everyone around him, always ready to lend a hand when needed,” she said.
The grieving mom also directly addressed the late soldier, whose casket was carried by fellow soldiers wearing the brigade’s iconic light green berets.
“My son, you were caring and sensitive, always knowing what the right thing to say was,” Tali said.
“I refuse to believe that instead of a blessing for your [finishing the army], I’m searching for words to summarize the period of your life. … In my blackest dreams I never thought I’d reach this point. Omer, my beautiful child, give us the strength to know how to continue on,” she said, according to Haaretz.
She added: “I love you so much, forever, my son.”
Family friend Gamliel Ratzon said “these people from Gaza, as well as from inside our country, want to destroy us. They were successful this time, but they won’t be for long.”
In addition to his parents, Tali and Amir, Tabib is survived by a brother in ninth grade, Haaretz reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences to the family on Wednesday.
“In the name of all of Israel’s citizens, I want to express my deep sorrow and send my condolences to Tabib’s family and friends,” he said in a statement.
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