"My boy died before my eyes," the father of Mohammed Karaka said of his 13-year-old son who was killed Sunday when the truck they were traveling in on the Golan Heights was hit by a blast.
The father, who is a subcontracted Defense Ministry employee driving a water truck for construction work on the border fence between Israel and Syria, sustained light-to-moderate wounds.
Mohammed Karaka (13). (Photo: alarab.net)
Three other people were wounded in the attack deadly attack that marked the first time an Israeli civilian was killed as a result of the Syrian civil war.
The boy was a high-school student who decided to join his father for work only a day after summer recess began.
Speaking to Ynet from his hospital bed at the Rivkah Ziv Medical Center at Safed, the father said "he was very happy when I agreed to take him with me today, and now this joy has turned into a tragedy."
The father spoke with great pride of his son: "He was gifted child who also spoke about wanting to be a doctor.
"I don't want to go back to work. I don't know how I will deal with this loss. I can only hope that something like this will never happens to any family, because no one can deal with this type of death," he said.
A school friend recalled the last day at school with Mohammed: "He said 'I'm supposed to go with my father and help him with his work.' That was the last sentence I heard him say. It was obvious he was excited about it."
One of Mohammad's teachers also spoke highly of the boy, saying "Mohammad was a great and sweet kid. Only on Thursday I men with him and he told me he was looking forward to resting during the summer break." The teacher said the school had canceled plan trip in wake of the boys untimely death.
Among the wounded was Shlomi Hazan, 32, from Beit Shean. He spoke with Ynet and recalled the event's details.
"I arrived at the scene to see the guys – my workers. I was sitting in my car and behind me was the truck with the father and son inside. Suddenly I felt as if the entire car was flying. Without losing my cool I took of my seatbelt and managed to get out of the car and make my way towards the bushes.
Photo: Rambam Hospital Spokesperson
"When I looked back, I saw the water truck driver's son. It was hard. Then the bushes I was hiding in caught fire and I fled."
According to him this was the first time the driver brought his son with him to work, "he worked with us for a long time, it's really hard."
According to him there was no warning before the attack took place, "there was no alert or talk. Nothing. The IDF is always in the area we work in.
"In my opinion it was a Lau missile or a mortar or something like that," he said.
There have been contradicting reports regarding the source of the blasts with some claiming it was a mine or side-blast, and others, among them Syrian rebels, claiming it was a stray mortar or anti-tank missile fired by the Syrian regime currently amidst a heavy fighting with rebels over the coveted Quneitra crossing.
The IDF is still investigating the incident, but the growing assumption is that the blast was a result of either a mortar or anti-tank missile. After the initial blast took place, the IDF responded with artillery fire into Syrian territory.
Some three weeks ago, the IDF shelled into Syria in response to a mortar fired at Mount Hermon by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. The IDF has also locked down the border with Syria at least twice in recent months, as Syrian rebels and government forces battled over a key village close to the Israeli frontier.
In March, four soldiers were wounded when explosive device detonated along Israel's border fence with Syria went off not far from the Druze village of Majdal Shams.