After the devastating surprise attack by the Hamas terror organization on Saturday left more than 700 Israelis dead, the names of the murdered victims are beginning to be released on Sunday morning.
The Israel Defense Forces announced the names of 26 soldiers who were killed in battle with the invading Hamas terrorists, among them senior officers including one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel and several majors, as well as several recent recruits who were only 19 to 20 years old, with a number of young women among them.
Among the dead is the commander of the Nahal Brigade, Colonel Yonatan Steinberg, 42 who fell during the battle at the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
Major Chen Buchris, 29 years old and vice commander of the Maglan commando unit, and Captain Or Yosef Ran, 26, team commander in the Duvdevan commando unit were also killed.
The Israel Police released a list of 30 police officers who died on Saturday. They were often the first line of resistance that the invading terrorists encountered as they entered Israeli towns and settlements, with many of them giving their lives to save citizens.
The police officers were were murdered include 43-year-old J.R. Davidov, father of four children, who was the commander of the police station in the town of Rahat near Beersheva.
As soon as he heard reports of the attack, he left his station with three colleagues and raced to the Gaza border, where he was killed in a firefight.
Israeli rescue services, Magen David Adom, also mourned its dead. Among them, was senior medic and ambulance driver Aharon Chaimov, 25, who was shot to death on his way to treat the wounded in the town of Ofakim.
An unknown number of municipality officials were killed in defense of their communities.
Ofir Liebstein, mayor of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, was killed during an exchange of fire with terrorists in his town.
Just one day prior to his death, Liebstein participated in the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) tree planting ceremony near the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council high school, on Friday, where he welcomed over 600 Evangelical Christians who came to show support for the victims of terror in the southern region.
“Ofir Liebstein indeed kept his promise to keep the Land of Israel and the Sha’ar HaNegev region, but sadly it came at the cost of his life. His words and his memory will remain with us forever,” read the ICEJ statement announcing his death.
The small village Netiv HaAsara, a farming community of about 1,000 residents on the Gaza border, released the names of 15 residents killed in the Hamas attack, without providing details about the circumstances of their deaths.
The number of victims on Saturday is expected to continue rising, as the IDF is currently still scanning the area for terrorists and rescue services have not yet searched all the attacked towns and settlements.
The massive rocket attack also cost many lives, including within Israel’s Arab and Bedouin towns in the Negev region, many of which were built illegally and don’t have safety rooms or bomb shelters.
Five-year-old Yazen Zakariah Abu Jamaa from Arara in the Negev was killed when a rocket exploded near his home. In Alba’at, two brothers were killed by a direct rocket hit on their home.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.