Staff Sgt. (res.) Hanan Drori, 26, died from a fungal infection after being seriously injured in Gaza, his local council said, bringing the toll of slain troops in the ground offensive against Hamas to 227.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the death of the soldier without mentioning the cause. Drori fought in the 551st Reserve Paratroopers Brigade chief’s forward command team, the military said.
Drori, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Psagot, is survived by his parents and three siblings. He was to be engaged soon, the Binyamin Regional Council said.
Council head Yisrael Gantz said he knew Drori as a “dear neighbor” and remembered him as a “smart and brilliant” man.
Drori was seriously injured by RPG fire while fighting in northern Gaza on December 17, 2023, and was treated at Kaplan hospital, then Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
Upon discovery of the fungus, his family and doctors obtained permission to use an experimental drug from Ireland, according to an Israel Hayom report Monday.
The hospital had a supply of the medicine left over after another patient no longer needed it, and began treatment. In addition, they were able to bring over an experimental drug treatment from Pfizer called Fosmanogepix.
Drori’s sister Tal told Channel 12 Tuesday of her family’s efforts to source the drugs.
“We requested assistance, and got to more than 2,000 people that helped us. We got to a point when the story was discovered by one person after another, and that’s how we got to high-ranking officials, without whom we would not have been able to bring the medicine,” she said.
According to media reports, some 15-20 soldiers have been hospitalized due to fungus infections from Gaza, a figure that has not been confirmed by medical centers of the military.
In December, a soldier died due to a life-threatening fungus doctors discovered after he was seriously injured in the Strip. Despite round-the-clock care and experimental treatments from abroad, the fungus proved to be treatment-resistant.
Israel launched its war against Hamas after the terror group led an unprecedented assault into southern Israel on October 7, murdering some 1,200 people in Israel, most of them civilians, and kidnapping 253 to Gaza, while committing brutal atrocities.
Meanwhile, there is an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with the collapse of basic services in the enclave and a massive displaced civilian population.
The United Nations has warned of increasing concerns of the spread of disease in Gaza, particularly during rains and flooding.