President Shimon Peres on Monday paid his respects to the grieving family of Corporal Netanel Yahalomi, the soldier slain in Friday’s cross-border attack on the Egyptian border.

“The pain of your loss is enormous. I came to you, on the eve of Yom Kippur, in order to tell you on behalf of the entire nation how proud we are of your son and that your pain is ours,” Peres told the Yahalomis.

“Your son was the first to return fire at the terrorists, who acted in a demonic manner and exploited the humanity of our soldiers who were giving water to refugees in order to murder and injure us. Your son courageously killed the first terrorist with his own hands, thwarted a large terrorist attack, and saved many lives of the Jewish people,” Peres said.

Yahalomi, 20, was shot in the head Friday afternoon when terrorists in civilian clothing fired at his artillery force, which was securing work on the border fence in the Har Harif area while attending to a group of African migrants that had been stopped at the fence.

Ansar Jerusalem, an al-Qaeda-inspired group based in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, claimed responsibility for the attack in which Yahalomi and three terrorists were killed and another soldier was injured.