Ten months after a botched Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, an officer killed during the incident will be posthumously honored along with his comrades and those who went into the Hamas-run enclave to rescue them.
Lt. Colonel M (identified only by an initial as is customary in the IDF) was killed by friendly fire while engaged in a gunbattle with Hamas forces in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis.
On Monday, IDF representatives visited the home of Lt. Col. M to inform his widow that the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has decided to honor her late husband for acts of bravery, resolve and courage behind enemy lines.
Lt. Col. M will receive the Chief of General Staff's Citation along with his comrades during the operation. Several other soldiers who participated in the operation will also be honored, including the officer who accidentally shot him.
The Head of Regional Command Citation will also be awarded on behalf of Military Intelligence to several special ops soldiers for their outstanding performance, showing composure and bravery and for helping to evacuate their comrades back into Israeli territory.
The same award will be given on behalf of the Israel Air Force to the captain of the rescue helicopter, his copilot and the flight mechanic for their performance and bravery while rescuing soldiers from enemy territory under fire.
According to Hamas, the IDF force entered the Gaza Strip to kill Nour el-Deen Baraka, the Khan Yunis Brigade commander in the terror group's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The IDF has denied the purpose of the mission was to kill or abduct Gazans.
The squad was apparently discovered by the Palestinians, and the two sides exchanged fire, during which Lt. Col. M. was killed and the second officer was wounded.
Friends and relatives of Lt. Col. M told Ynet he was a source of pride and inspiration.
"His death is a big loss and a hard and painful blow to all of us, to the family and to the whole community," a relative said shortly after the Gaza operation.