Survivors recall Kfar Giladi horror
Soldiers Ohad Gozlan and Dror Kashi went to rest a few meters away from where their fellow soldiers were assembled in Kfar Giladi – a decision which saved their lives. Seconds later rocket blast leaves 12 of their colleagues dead. Gozlan and Kashi describe moments ensuing the blast. It's not time to point fingers, they say
Soldiers Ohad Gozlan and Dror Kashi, the only two of their IDF unit who survived the devastating rocket attack Sunday without injury, were hectically visiting all of their wounded colleagues in various northern hospitals Monday.
Just moments before the fatal blast at the reservists' camp in Kfar Giladi, which killed 12 soldiers and wounded many more, Ohad and Dror decided to go outside for a break. The chance decision could have saved their lives. Within one minute the rocket hit and they lost three of their company, plus two were wounded and hospitalized in the Ziv Hospital in Safed and Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Ohad and Dror went from hospital to hospital Monday, taking care of their injured friends, as well as paying condolence visit to their colleagues' families.
Ohad Gozlan, 36, from Magadim, said their group of reserve soldiers served together for 14 years and its members were very close, keeping almost daily contact with each other. "They called us to reserve duty, and part of the company was already in Lebanon. Those of us that were older didn't go into Lebanon, and were handling logistics and management. There were seven of us who stayed out – Dror and I who weren't hurt, three more were killed, and two are in hospital," Gozlan said.
He described the moments preceding the blast: "All seven of us sat on one side of the wall, and the rest of the reservists sat a few meters away. Dror and I were a bit tired, so we just went off to take a quick nap a few meters away. As soon as we lay down we heard the blast."
The two soldiers related that the night before their unit had been in a different area of Kfar Giladi, but as the place was uncomfortable, the reservists relocated to the site where the rocket was to hit.
'These are good people'
Gozlan and Kashi tried to remember the moments following the blast. "It was an utter shock. A powerful gust, everything went flying. Half a second later, a wounded soldier jumped on us screaming in pain. We immediately understood there had been an explosion. We started treating the soldier, who had a slashed artery in his wrist. I sealed the blood flow while Dror examined the rest of his body. Right now he's in Ziv Hospital in Safed in light-to-moderate condition. "We visited him today," Gozlan said.
Kashi said he saw his friends, hurt, on all sides. "When I realized the guy we were treating was in okay condition, I moved on to the rest of the casualties. I attended one other friend who was in more severe condition, until he was airlifted to Rambam Hospital. I saw one of our friends was dead and other bodies, cars in flames, thick smoke and a horrible smell. At the precise moment that something happens, you can't really feel that it’s happening – we responded mechanically; we tired to save our friends as best we could – those who we're visiting in hospital now or whose families we're visiting, their newly bereaved families."
The two believed that pointing fingers towards elements responsible for the incident was irrelevant at the moment. "We aren't occupied by the question of who's to blame. The only thing we want right now is to be with the families," Gozlan said.
Kashi addd, "Right now criticism of the army is the least important thing. Our friends and the soldiers from the unit in Lebanon take precedence over everything. These are good people who came to reserves to be with their friends and fight together."