Staff Sergeant Liran Banai lost his fight for life Sunday morning at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.  The IDF soldier was critically injured last Thursday in an ambush by Palestinian Authority terrorists from Gaza.

Banai was the driver of an IDF jeep patrolling the pre-1967 side of the Gaza border when it crossed over an explosive device near Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha.

The soldier sitting next to him in the front seat was immediately killed in the blast, which is believed to have been detonated by remote control. His name was not released, at the request of the family.

The other two soldiers, who were sitting in the back seat, were lightly wounded.

Banai's aunt, Eliza Depiero, said the soldier was important to his parents, not solely because he was their only son, but also because he helped them communicate with others. Guy and Gila Banai are both deaf and mute, and neither is employed at present. He is also survived by a sister, who is also an IDF soldier.

The young soldier will be laid to rest Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the military cemetery in Ashkelon.