In one of the first mass-casualty incidents during Israel's ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the explosion of a booby-trapped tunnel shaft killed four IDF soldiers and seriously wounded five more.
The soldier who suffered the heaviest wounds in the blast is Amitay Argaman, the son of a Messianic Jewish family.
Argaman was afraid that he wouldn’t survive the evacuation to the hospital, he told Israel’s Channel 13 news in a recent interview.
When he reached the hospital, the doctors made a dramatic decision that ended up saving his life: They amputated both of his legs.
“I was very lucky,” Argaman joked. “I was injured in almost all the parts that aren’t crucial for life. I was very seriously injured but we survived.”
During his regular army service, Argaman served in the IDF’s elite Maglan commando unit. Later, he embarked on the typical Israeli post-army excursion and journeyed through South America.
After about half a year of travel, he returned to Israel on Oct. 6, the day before Hamas terrorists carried out their murderous assault on multiple Israeli border communities.
Despite jet lag, as soon as he heard the first reports of the invasion, Argaman started getting organized on his own initiative, before being called up by the IDF.
“I even got a haircut, because I had long hair [from the trip]… also equipment, I kind of did what was necessary… that’s what’s expected of a fighter.”
Argaman’s unit was among the first to enter the Gaza Strip. After almost a month of fighting, his unit was tasked to clear a building in the town of Beit Hanoun.
During the search, Hamas terrorists activated a powerful explosive charge, killing four soldiers and wounding five more.
Despite his critical injuries, Argaman fought to stay conscious and remained active, constantly trying to talk and ask questions during the evacuation.
His positive attitude has continued to give strength to his family, friends and even the hospital staff, who he even thanked for their quick decision to amputate his legs, which saved his life.
“You must have some kind of inner resilience, which comes from an understanding that I was wounded in a just war, it wasn’t for nothing,” Argaman said during the interview.
“When I was fighting, I saw Sderot behind me. I said to myself, ‘that’s where my sister lives, it’s so close.’ You’re fighting for them.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.