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Soldier loses leg in mortar attack

IMRA

Doctors manage to save one of legs of Sergeant Noam Nakash, who was
seriously wounded by mortar shells fired at Nahal Oz military base. ‘He
always informed me about mortars landing in the area but told me I had
nothing to worry about,’ his mother tells Ynet
Ilana Curiel YNET Published: 11.29.08, 11:18 / Israel News
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3630411,00.html

Sergeant Noam Nakash, 21, of Beersheba, who serves as a company sergeant
major at the communications branch at the Nahal Oz base, lost his right leg
Friday night in a mortar shell attack on the southern Israel base.

He was evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in Beersheba, where he
underwent surgery for seven hours. His condition was defined as serious but
stable.

The rocket fire from the Gaza Strip did not stop Friday night, as
Palestinians launched another Qassam towards the western Negev. The rocket
landed within the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. There were no reports of
injuries.

Seven other troops were injured in the attack. One soldier sustained serious
wounds to his head, but his condition later improved and was defined as
moderate on Saturday morning. Another soldier was moderately injured and two
others were lightly hurt.

The four were hospitalized at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, which
released two troops who sustained light wounds throughout the night. A
female soldier was treated for shock at the Barzilai Medical Center and was
later released.

Noam’s mother, Aliza, waited outside the operating room with the other
family members.

“I fell asleep and woke up to a different reality,” she told Ynet. “For a
moment I didn’t know where I was. I can’t believe Noam was hurt, that he
lost a leg.”

Soldier evacuated to hospital (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)

The mother spoke of her son, “He’s a smiler, an amiable and nice child, who
is kind to everyone. He’s gentle and the military service made him stronger,
but he really wanted to leave.

“He is supposed to be released in August, and we have been counting the
months for his leave. At first he didn’t like the base, but he later became
accustomed to it.”

The Nahal Oz base has been hit by mortar shells more than once. “He always
informed me about mortars landing in the area, but told me, ‘Mom, you have
nothing to worry about.’ He said everything would be okay, but I was worried
nonetheless.

“Every weekend when he came home, he would hang out with friends. The moment
he got out he would visit his friends. He loved playing football, it was his
hobby.”

‘Take the Qassam threat seriously’

The mother asked to convey a message to the prime minister and IDF chief of
staff.

“It’s hard for me to say these words as a mother. I just hope they evacuate
them and do something against the terror elements, against those firing the
mortars, the people operating against the angels stationed at that base.

“I want them to take the Qassam threat seriously and start working. It’s not
just my son, but all the soldiers who are there and all the residents living
in the area.”

Ron Lobel, the Barzilai Medical Center’s deputy director, told Ynet that
“the soldier arrived at the hospital with a serious injury to both his legs.
Our first impression was that he had lost both legs. His condition
deteriorated and he was resuscitated. He was then rushed into the operating
room, where he was treated by a number of medical teams until 5 am.

“The soldier has been transferred to the recovery room, and his condition
remains serious but stable. We were forced to amputate one of his legs, but
I hope his other leg has been saved.”

Two of the mortars fired Friday nightanded within the base, one hitting the
officers’ quarters and the other hitting the female soldiers’ quarters. Two
other mortars landed in open areas in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.

Shells also landed in the Netiv Haasara area, where there were no reports of
injuries or damage.

The Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the mortar
fire, but Hamas later declared that its military wing, the Izz al-Din
al-Qassam Brigades, was behind the attack.

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