Two elite force soldiers killed in Gaza

Master Sgts. Adi Eldor and Alon Kleinman of the Maglan unit were hit with an anti-tank missile during a battle in Khan Younis.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF announced Monday that two elite force soldiers were killed and two seriously wounded in a battle against Hamas forces in the southern Gaza Strip.

Master Sgts. Adi Eldor and Alon Kleinman of the Maglan commandos, both 21, died from an anti-tank missile shot at them.

Eldor’s parents said their son’s death had meaning because the war was for the freedom of the hostages that Hamas kidnapped on October 7, 2023 during its invasion of Israel in which its forces massacred 1,200 people.

“Our children fight and are killed because they think the war is just,” said his father, Liron. “Our children fight for the abductees…. We have to get them back, so that [the death of] no soldier, hostage, or victim of this horror will be in vain.”

Liron referred to the “wonderful news” of the two hostages that the IDF rescued Sunday night, and said that the mission to free the rest trumped everything else. Whether it was accomplished through a deal or by military force did not matter, he added.

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Hamas is still holding 102 live hostages, in addition to at least 32 bodies of those who have since died in captivity.

Eldor was the twelfth graduate of Haifa’s Reali high school to be killed since the war began on October 7, 2023. His two siblings attend the school, as his parents and grandparents had before him.

One of his former homeroom teachers told Walla in a choked voice that Eldor had been “the type of boy who would sacrifice, who would run to be first, whenever necessary, without thinking of himself at all. I’ll always remember him…his healthy laugh, determination and decency…. He had an inner quiet… a person that every leader wants at his side, that everyone would want for his daughter.”

Kleinman had also been beloved in his high school in Rehovot.

“We are all deeply saddened by the death of Alon, who finished his studies here only three years ago, said Katzir Educational Campus Director Meirav Kfir. “Alon was the salt of the earth. A talented, sociable guy, handsome inside and out, smart and with a high emotional intelligence, loved by the whole grade as well as the teachers. He was an excellent student, pleasant… on top of everything, an outstanding basketball player. He always had a smile on his face. We send our sincere condolences to his family.”

Both soldiers come from medical families.

Liron Eldor is a senior plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, while his father had been head of the women’s and maternity department in the same facility and pioneered fertility and stem cell research in the country.

Kleinman was the son of Prof. Guy Kleinman, who heads the Wolfson Medical Center’s ophthalmology department.

They are the 228th and 229th soldiers killed in Gaza since the ground invasion began in late October.