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JERUSALEM — BDE: In a tragic incident which occurred in Rafah on Saturday morning, eight IDF soldiers were killed after their APC apparently drove over an explosive device and caught fire. The incident took place near the Rafah “refugee camp.”

Thus far, only two of the soldiers’ names has been published: Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23 years old from Beit Jann. Mahmoud served as deputy company commander in Engineering Battalion 601. He had been injured previously by shrapnel but postponed an operation to rejoin his comrades in battle. It has not yet been decided when his funeral will take place.

The other soldier who was named is Itai Amar (19) from the town of Tzur Yigal-Kochav Yair.

The IDF has updated the families of the other soldiers (all from the combat engineers battalion), whose names have not yet been cleared for publication.

The tragedy took place at approximately 5:15a.m. The engineering force, which was working together with a Givati Brigade battalion, fought togther with them overnight. On the way to their destination, a large explosion occurred, apparently without shots being fired beforehand. The armored vehicle, which was the fifth or sixth traveling the route, went up in flames due to an explosive device. It is not yet clear whether the device was placed on the ground or attached to the vehicle.

The vehicle burned for an extended amount of time, and rescuers could not reach it for approximately two hours. Afterwards, it was dragged to a safe place.

Besides the soldiers who died in the APC, three other soldiers fell Saturday. Shalom Menachem from Beit El and Yakir Levi from Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim, yeshiva students from the Mitzpeh Yericho yeshiva, fell in the battles in southern Gaza. Yair Roitman (19) of Karnei Shomron died of injuries sustained in last weeks booby-trapped building in Rafah.

Shalom Menachem (r) and Yakir Levi HyD
Yair Roitman HyD

As reported by VINnews