שיירת הדגלים לכבוד אל"מ אסף חממי ז"לצילום: איתן אלחדז/TPS

Colonel Asaf Hamami, who fell while battling terrorists on October 7, was laid to rest on Monday morning.

Thousands attended Hamami's funeral, creating a long string of Israeli flags which stretched from the entrance to his home in Kiryat Ono, and accompanying him on his last journey to the military cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Attending the funeral wer Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, past and present IDF chiefs of staff, and a former head of the IDF's Gaza Division.

Brigadier-General Yaki Dolaf, a friend of Hamami's, said, "You did not fall, because you were always fighting. You went out to fight for the children and the country which was your entire being. As always, you were the first to understand a situation and attack. You did not fall - we fell."

"Asaf, all of us have died a bit with you, and many are alive in your merit."

Avi Davush, a representative of Kibbutz Nirim, said, "You were a son to proud and loving parents, and a loving father yourself. I want to give you another title: The Protector of Nirim."

Hamami's mother, Clara, mourned, "The moment we received an alert regarding the fence you went to protect Kibbutz Nirim with your body. You fell in heroism, fighting dozens of terrorists. I did not think that you would act differently - you were made of different material."

"You wanted so much to grow up and join the army. You were so excited to wear the green army uniform. We sang Givati together wtih you. You saw yourself as one of the people, and did not look down on others. You did not ask for praise or honor, you took upon yourself a great responsibility, and acted out of concern for others."

"You believed that your job was to protect the residents," she added. "You were always warning, you said that you saw black - the black arrived on October 7."

The IDF's Chief Military Rabbi declared Hamami's death after examining all of the findings, and on the basis of reliable information. Hamami will be laid to rest next to his uncle, Eitan Hamami, who served in the Golani Brigade and fell during a military exercise; and his grandmother's brother, Yair Tzabari, who fell during his military service.

His family announced, "With great pain, we announce the fall of our beloved, who fought with courage and strength, out of a love for his homeland, and fell while defending the residents of the Gaza border area and the State of Israel."

Hamami was one of three Colonels to die since the war broke out, the highest rank yet killed. The other two were the commanders of the multi-dimensional unit, Roi Levi, and the commander of the Nahal brigade, Yehonatan Steinberg.