The three Israeli soldiers killed by an Egyptian policeman at the border over the weekend were laid to rest on Sunday.
Sgt. Lia Ben-Nun, 19, and Staff Sgt. Uri Iluz, 20, were shot dead overnight Friday while manning an observation post. During the subsequent manhunt, Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan, 20, was killed in Israeli territory in an exchange of fire with the terrorist, who was also fatally shot.
The three victims served in the Bardelas (Cheetah) Battalion, a mixed-gender infantry unit that is part of the Paran Brigade.
Ben-Nun’s funeral took place at the military cemetery in her hometown of Rishon Leztion.
“Lia, you were characterized by an endless giving that burned in you,” Bardelas Battalion commander Lt.-Col. Ivan Kuhn said at the service.
“You were social and spread light, you were of exemplary character as a warrior, your image and legacy will accompany us forever,” Kuhn continued.
Lia’s sister Ofir said at the funeral, “She was stunning without and within, a huge ray of sunshine, full of the joy of life. Everyone loved her, there is no one who didn’t.”
Iluz’s funeral was held at the military cemetery in Tzfat.
“You performed every task with a smile. The value of comradeship guided you every step of the way. You knew what was in the heart of everyone around you without the need for words. You created a rapprochement of hearts out of love for others, an example of the way of the land,” Paran Brigade deputy commander Lt. Col. Aviad Gedasi said.
The brigade is responsible for surveillance and defense of the Egyptian border.
Iluz’s friend Ron said that he was “a point of light for all of us.”
Dahan’s funeral took place at the military cemetery in Ofakim.
“Ohad, you were true to every task, a personal example and role model for every soldier in the brigade. Always with a smile on your face, handsome and good. You were up to every task, striving for contact [with the enemy] and excelling in what you did. In everything you led the people around you to act in your own way, a way befitting your character and how you were brought up in your home—love of the land and devotion to its people,” Col. Ido Saad, commander of the Paran Brigade, said.
At Ben-Nun’s funeral, her family cried out in tears: “We want answers.”
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Sunday tapped Maj. Gen. Nimrod Aloni to lead the investigation into the “systemic failures” that led to the deaths of the soldiers.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, the head of the IDF Southern Command; and Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen, the commander of the 80th Division, of which the Paran Brigade is part, will investigate the conduct of the soldiers during the cross-border attack.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the deadly incident will be “fully investigated.”