Gadi Yarkoni, the last Israeli to be injured in Operation Protective Edge, was out of danger on Thursday, doctors said. Yarkoni is the administrator of Kibbutz Nirim in the Gaza border area. He was severely injured by a Hamas rocket just minutes before the cease-fire at the end of the 50-day war took effect.
Yarkoni, who was until now in a hospital intensive care unit, was on Thursday transferred to the orthopedic ward in Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, a report said. His condition has improved considerably, doctors say, but now the real challenge - the rehabilitation process - begins. As a result of the attack, Yarkoni lost both legs from the knee down.
Yarkoni was injured when a mortar shell fired by Hamas terrorists hit him and two companions - the security coordinator of the kibbutz, Zevik Etzion, and his deputy, Shahar Melamed – when they were outdoors examining the kibbutz's electricity infrastructure for damage it sustained during the war. They did not have time to take cover when the shell landed near them.
Etzion was killed on the spot, while Melamed died a few hours later. A badly hurt Yarkoni was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and doctors were forced to amputate both his legs. Kibbutz Nirim mourned for its two lost members, as residents prayed for Yarkoni's recovery.
Yarkoni has undergone many operations, and only a few days ago opened his eyes after being in a coma for weeks.
His wife, Shoham, and three children, Libby (11), Ofek (10) and Shaked (16), have not left his bedside for a moment, friends and family said.