The two IDF soldiers who were killed in a training accident in the Golan Heights early Wednesday morning when a self-propelled cannon overturned into a ditch have been identified as Second Lieutenant Avshalom Armoni, 22, of Beit Horon and Sergeant Avinoam Cohen, 22, of Jerusalem.
Two other soldiers were lightly wounded in the accident while another two were left in serious condition.
Armoni and Cohen from the artillery unit’s 411st battalion were posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant and Staff Sergeant respectively.
Armoni was the cousin of Na’ama Henkin, who was killed with her husband Eitam in a drive-by shooting terror attack in October 2015.
Just a few hours after the fatal accident, Cohen’s sister gave birth to a boy in Jerusalem. “We didn’t tell her anything except ‘Mazal tov.’ Only a few hours later we let her know,” said his brother Sagi.
Armoni studied in the Otniel Yeshiva where he was described as “a leader in every field.”
“His persistence in the Torah of Israel and his love and devotion to the State of Israel” was also noted by the yeshiva.
The IDF launched an investigation into the incident, which took place during a drill on the Golan's highway 91.
Three of the soldiers were evacuated to Ziv Medical Center is Safed and the fourth soldier was taken by helicopter to Rambam Hospital in light condition.
According to initial investigations, the incident occurred at around 2am while the cannon was travelling as part of an armored convoy during a drill for company and battalion commanders on a path near Nafah Junction.
During the journey the convoy began crossing a road blocked off in order to enable its arrival to the training field nearby and to continue the exercise,
Having completed the crossing, instead of taking an immediate left, the driver turned a hard right and before turning round and completing a 180 degree turn.
At this point, the driver reported that his view had been blurred by the headlights emanating from convoy of vehicles opposite him when the cannon suddenly overturned into a ditch 6-8 meters deep, leaving the platoon commander and the second lieutenant in the turret dead.
One of the soldiers was trapped for two hours under the cannon until he was eventually extricated.