Hundreds of people attended the funeral in Jerusalem on Friday of Staff Sgt. Shilo Yosef Amir, 22, who was shot and killed by a Palestinian gunman near the West Bank settlement of Kedumim a day earlier.
“My heart refuses to believe [the news], it has been shattered to pieces,” said his mother, Orly, during the funeral at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl. “You taught us what love is. You understood your mission and you stuck with it. Nothing will ever be the same again.”
The commander of Amir’s Givati infantry brigade’s reconnaissance unit, Lt. Col. Ziv Boanish, eulogized the fallen soldier, saying: “You were always the first to volunteer, to execute and to fight. You were a man of truth, loved by your friends. You dealt with challenges with great humility, and yesterday, although you could have gone home, you chose to join an operation to fulfill our goal, you [sought the enemy] and prevented harm to civilians. I salute you for the final time.”
Netanel Amos, a lone soldier from Canada who served with Amir, also spoke at the funeral, relaying how Amir helped him learn Hebrew when they went through basic training together.
According to the Israel Defense Forces’ initial probe of the attack, security forces were alerted of the presence of a suspicious car driving around the settlement. When a civilian security officer and IDF troops arrived at the scene and stopped a car for inspection, its occupant fired at them with a handgun and fled. The forces then chased the assailant and killed him.
The deadly attack was later claimed by the military wing of the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, which identified the assailant as Ahmed Yassin Ghaidan of Qibya.
Since the beginning of this year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 25 people, including Thursday’s shooting.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said the shooting was a response to the Israeli operation in Jenin earlier this week, during which at least 12 Palestinian gunmen were killed as well as over recent settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
During the past year, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
On Wednesday, Palestinian gunmen opened fire from a passing vehicle at a police cruiser and a nearby store in a tiny Samaritan community close to Nablus, causing no injuries. That attack came hours after the IDF pulled back from Jenin following a two-day incursion targeting terror groups in the Palestinian refugee camp adjacent to the West Bank city.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been high across the West Bank for the past year and a half, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids, amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 150 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that time — most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.