• Saturday, July 13, 2024

ASIA

Indian-origin Israeli soldier killed in Gaza fighting: ‘The whole city of Dimona is grieving’

Staff-Sgt. Halel Solomon, 20, belonged to Dimona in south Israel, which is also called “little India” given the large concentration of Jews from India in the township.

Halel Solomon (Picture: Benny Bitton Facebook post)

By: Shubham Ghosh

A 20-YEAR-OLD Indian-origin Israeli soldier was among the Israeli combatants killed while fighting in Gaza, community members and the mayor of the Dimona town from where he belonged, said on Wednesday (1).

“It is with great sorrow and grief that we announce the death of a son of Dimona, Halel Solomon, in the battle in Gaza,” mayor Benny Bitton said in a Facebook post the same day.

“We share in the grief of the parents, Ronit and Mordechai, and the sisters: Yasmin, Hila, Vered, and Shaked …. Halel aspired to do a meaningful service and enlisted in the Givati (Brigade). Halel was a devoted son and had respect for his parents always in his eyes. Possessing immense good qualities he believed in endless giving, modesty, and humility. The whole city of Dimona is grieving his passing,” Bitton wrote.

Dimona is a town in the south of Israel identified with Israel’s nuclear reactor but some also describe it as “little India” given the large concentration of Jews from India in the township.

Indian community members told news agency Press Trust of India that he was “a young man with pleasant manners and a very bright future ahead.”

They expressed huge sorrow at his passing away and at the loss of lives of other young Israelis “fighting a just war for Israel’s existence.”

At least 11 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the battle in Gaza in what prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as a “difficult war” with “painful losses,” but vowed to continue “until victory.”

“We are in a difficult war. This will be a long war. We have so many important achievements but also painful losses,” Netanyahu said.

“We know that every soldier of ours is an entire world. The entire people of Israel embrace you, the families, from the depth of our hearts. We are all with you during your heavy sorrow. Our soldiers have fallen in the most just of wars, the war for our home,” the prime minister added.

“I promise the citizens of Israel: We will complete the work – we will continue until victory,” he stressed.

At least 1400 Israelis were killed in a deadly attack carried out by Hamas on Israel’s southern communities on October 7. They also took at least 240 people as hostages during that surprise infiltration.

Israel, backed by the United States and some other Western nations, declared war against Hamas which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 with two stated goals – elimination of the terror organisation and freeing the hostages.

More than 8,000 people have died in Gaza since Israel launched a counter-offensive by first carrying out widespread air strikes and then slowly launching ground incursions that have been intensifying over the last three days.

(With PTI inputs)

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