Matan Tzuri, Koby Nachshoni – YNET
The two IDF soldiers killed in the Hezollah attack on the Israel-Lebanon border on Wednesday are Captain Yohai Kalangel and Sergeant Dor Nini. Seven others have been lightly and moderately wounded in the attack.
Yohai Kalangel, 25, from the Har Gilo settlement in the West Bank, was a father of a one-year-old girl and married to Tali, who is pregnant with their second child. He was the commander of the Tzabar Battalion’s supporting company, and received a decoration from the IDF chief of staff on Independence Day last year. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major.
“Yohai was a great man, salt of the earth, a fighter with all of his might, a leading and outstanding officer and for that he got a
citation from the chief of staff last Independence Day,” the Kalangel family said in a statement, adding they would want whoever can attend the funeral to come.
“We want to thank the family, friends, the army and the settlement Elazar for all of the support. We also want to send our condolences to the Nini family whose son Dor has fallen, and get well wishes to the wounded,” the family said.
Dor Nini, 20, from Moshav Shtulim near Ashdod, was a combat soldiuer at the Givati Brigade’s Tzabar battalion. Nini, who fought in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, was posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
“My little brother was always smiling, he was a fighter who loved the army. There’s no situation in which he wasn’t smiling. If he heard of a hungry soldier, he’d always ask for money to give that soldier,” Dor Nini’s brother Aviel said.
“He only arrived in the north last night, he didn’t even have time to understand what was going on. But he wasn’t afraid of war,” Aviel added, noting that his brother dreamed of going to officers course.
“Today, when we heard about the incident we all had a bad feeling straight away. We left work and went home. Without talking to each other, we all felt something bad had happened and when we got home we were told of the disaster,” Aviel continued.
Menachem Maudi, a friend of the family, said that “Dor was a kid everyone loved, a kid everyone knew. A great guy always willing to help. He would ask money from his mother to give soldiers that didn’t have any. This is a really hard blow to the family and the entire moshav. It’s very hard to imagine life without him.”
Speaking to the press on Wednesday night, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz expressed his condolences to the families of the two soldiers.
He assured residents of the north that they could carry on with their daily lives uninterrupted.
“The IDF is here in very large forces. We’re highly alert and prepared in case the forces need to come into action,” Almoz said.
The incident occurred at about 11:30am Wednesday, when a Hezbollah anti-tank missile hit an IDF convoy near Har Dov and Shebaa Farms, a disputed tract of land where the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria meet. The The IDF ruled out the possibility of a kidnapping attempt, despite reports from Lebanon claiming otherwise.
The troops that were hit were conducting a patrol in the sector as part of the high alert level in the north. The soldiers stationed in the area were supposed to serve as reinforcement troops in the case of escalation.
Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said was in retribution for an Israeli assault in Syria that saw a group of its fighters killed. Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to respond “with force” to Wednesday attack.
A Spanish UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon) soldier was killed after the IDF responded with fire into southern Lebanon.
The incident took place a day after the IAF responded to a rocket attack directed at Israel from Syria, which reports said Hezbollah forces in Syira were behind.
Lebanese security officials said Israel later fired 25 artillery shells into Lebanon after the anti-tank missile attack.
Lebanese officials said that IDF shelling targeted the border villages of Majidiyeh, Abbasiyeh and Kfar Chouba near the Shebaa Farms area.