Netanel Maman, a soldier who fought in the Gaza Strip and was injured by a rocket that struck his car on Friday, remained hospitalized in critical condition Sunday after undergoing surgery to remove shrapnel from his skull.
Doctors at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where Maman is hospitalized, said late Saturday the soldier is still in critical condition, and that the medical staff is doing its utmost to save the young man’s life.
“It’s too soon to say what will be, but within 24 hours we’ll be able to tell if there’s an improvement in his condition,” Prof. Jonathan Cohen told the news website Ynet.
Maman, 21, was wounded when a Grad rocket exploded near his vehicle outside the southern town of Gan Yavne, near Ashdod on Friday night. He was struck in the head by shrapnel from the projectile. Maman was on leave from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps after having served in combat in the Gaza Strip.
His brother, Tamir, 19, a soldier in the air force, who was with him in the car, was lightly injured and was released from the hospital.
“They were just on a break from the army and went out to enjoy themselves,” their father said. “They’re lucky there was an ambulance right behind them that picked them up immediately after they were injured.”
“We’re hoping for the best,” he added. “Prayer is needed. Things will be alright.”
Eden Nagar, a woman who was lightly wounded in the incident, said she had been in a vehicle adjacent to the two soldiers’ car when the rocket hit.
“We stopped at a junction, at a traffic light, in our car,” she recalled. “Next to us was another car with the two brothers. I heard sirens and wanted to get out but they guy with me in the car told me there was no siren and closed the door, he wouldn’t let me out. When he closed the door there was a huge blast.”
“Everyone in cars around us got out of their cars [before the rocket hit, as per Home Front Command’s instructions] except for the guy who was wounded. He stayed in the car,” she said. “If he had come out, he would have saved himself, and if I had come out I would have been more seriously injured.”