The Israel Defense Forces announced Sunday the deaths of two more troops in fighting with Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Staff Sgt. Aschalwu Sama, 20, from Petah Tikva, was an infantry soldier in the Nahal Brigade’s 932nd Battalion. Sama was wounded on November 14 and succumbed to his wounds on Saturday.
Sgt. First Class (res.) Or Brandes, 25, from Shoham, was a soldier in the 7th Armored Brigade’s 82nd Battalion. He was killed Saturday in battle in central Gaza.
“And so it has come to our family too,” wrote Brandes’s aunt Navah in a post on Facebook that described him as “loving and loved.”
In other posts to social media, acquaintances described Brandes as “the funniest person in the gang” and “a boy who was full of light, magic and sweetness.”
A friend of Aschalwu wrote it was “an honor to know you, hero of Israel,” while another posted that “it seems the Creator wants you close to him.”
Since the start of the war, the IDF has announced the deaths of 398 soldiers. Of those, 72 died during the ground offensive inside the Gaza Strip. The vast majority of the others were killed in fighting with Hamas terrorists in southern Israel, almost all of them on the day of Hamas’s initial devastating onslaught.
The war broke out when the Palestinian terror group launched a cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7 that killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Entire families were murdered in their homes, and some 360 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists, in what US President Joe Biden has highlighted as “the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.” The 3,000 terrorists who invaded Israel also abducted at least 240 other people of all ages, including children and infants, and took them to Gaza as hostages.
Israel responded with an intense land and air campaign aimed at destroying Hamas and securing freedom for the hostages.