The IDF has identified a 20-year-old sergeant killed in action fighting Hamas terrorists at the Gaza border Friday night as Nadav Rotenberg of Ramot HaShavim.
Another soldier was moderately wounded and three others sustained light injuries in the incident, which appears to have been the result of friendly fire. The troops had identified several terrorists planting explosives near the security fence bordering central Gaza, and countered with mortar fire.
Initial findings of an investigation conducted by GOC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo and the commander of the Gaza Division, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Bachar, indicated that the soldiers were also hit by mortar fire. It appeared that one of the shells fired by IDF troops had deviated from its path.
An IDF colonel has been appointed to head the team investigating the incident.
Army officials arrived with the news of Nadav’s death on the day of his parents' 26th wedding anniversary, destroying plans for a celebration at their home.
His parents immediately recognized what their arrival meant; the elder Rotenberg is a veteran of the Sayeret Tzanchanim (Airborne Special Ops) a tradition his son had hoped to follow.
An active boy, Rotenberg grew up instead to become a paratrooper, however, after an injury during training nixed his chance to follow in his father’s footsteps.
His mother told reporters Saturday that her son “excelled in everything. That’s why the army wanted to keep him in the paratroopers.”
About a half hour before he set out on the operation in which he lost his life, Nadav spoke with his girlfriend, Tal Kimlov, telling her he was on emergency duty, and was sleeping.
“He promised to get back to me… but now he never will,” she mourned.