The mother of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, who was killed by a Gaza mortar shell on Friday, said on Saturday that the family was preparing to leave their home for safer areas when the attack came.
Gila Tragerman said a shell had exploded in their kibbutz, Nahal Oz, some time earlier, convincing the family to leave for her parents’ house in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv.
“The suitcases were already packed,” she said. “A minute before the explosion I went out to take Uri’s baby carrier (her young son) from the clothesline and met the neighbor. I asked him if they were leaving and told him we were setting off now. I went inside and there was the Color Red siren.
“The children were playing in a tent inside the house, and from the moment of the siren to the explosion only three seconds passed. We didn’t have time to get the children and go into the protected room.”
Gila said her son Daniel was very disciplined when it came to rocket sirens.
“He always rushed to the protected room,” she said. “The moment the alarm sounded he knew what to do and where to go. When everyone reached the protected room Daniel would say ‘now we’re all safe.’”
Tragerman called her son a “beautiful, smart, sensitive boy. So sweet…We wanted to watch him grow up with his brothers and fulfill himself.”
Daniel was killed Friday afternoon when a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip exploded outside the family’s home at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region. The family — his parents and siblings — were all at home at the time. He was killed by shrapnel from the explosion.
An Israeli army spokesperson said the fatal shell was fired from near a school used as a shelter for Palestinian refugees. Hamas took responsibility for the attack.
Daniel is the first Israeli child to die in the current Israel-Hamas conflict. His death brought the Israeli death toll since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8 to 68.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas would pay a “heavy price” for the killing. In a phone call to local Sha’ar Hanegev council head Alon Shuster, Netanyahu said the IDF and Shin Bet would intensify their operations against Hamas and other Gaza terror groups until sustained calm was guaranteed for Israel.
Tragerman will be laid to rest at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Hevel Shalom cemetery in the Eshkol Regional Council in the northern Negev.