Wednesday, May 18th | 17 Iyyar 5782

March 28, 2022 12:57 pm

‘Not Even 20 Years Old’: Thousands Mourn Israeli Officers Killed by ISIS Gunmen

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Relatives and friends attend the funeral of Israeli border police officer Yazn Flach who was killed during an attack at the Israeli city of Hadera, in his village of Ksra Samia in northern Israel March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Two Israeli Border Police officers murdered by terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State were laid to rest on Monday, with thousands attending their funerals.

Yezen Falah and Shirel Abukarat, both 19-years-old, were killed on Sunday night when two Israeli Arab gunmen opened fire on passersby in a main street in the coastal Israeli city of Hadera, north of Tel Aviv.

The assailants, identified by local media as Ayman and Ibrahim Agbaria of the northern Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, shot dead Falah and Abukarat and wounded several others before being killed by undercover officers eating at a nearby restaurant. Their attack was claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group, and praised by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Falah was buried Monday in the Druze village of Kisra-Sumei, where he was eulogized by the Druze community’s spiritual leader Sheikh Muwaffak Tarif, Hebrew media reported.

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“There is no more difficult place to stand than before the coffin of a young man who did not even reach 20 years of age,” Tarif said. “He was a smiling and loving person, and now he is gone. Only his photographs, with his conquering smile, remain to us.”

Falah was born to a large and prominent family in the Druze community and “was not educated to hate the other, or in the culture of death,” he added. “He was educated to love life and human beings, on helping the needy, on respect for humanity.”

Superintendent Moshe Cohen, Falah’s commander, said that his entire Border Police unit was in deep mourning, and called Falah “among the finest of our sons” who had “died a hero’s death.”

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar also spoke at the funeral, saying to Falah’s family, “We love you and embrace you. Your mourning is the mourning of all the people of Israel.”

“Together we will defeat them, as we have always defeated them,” he pledged.

Abukarat was buried in Netanya with thousands in attendance. Before the funeral, her mother broke down at the graveside, screaming, “My Shirel, rise up. How could I not have protected you? I want you my daughter, rise up.”

Abukarat’s cousin Teri eulogized her, saying, “See how many people have come for you, for your parents. It is difficult to digest that this is our reality, that we will not get to see you again and laugh with you, to celebrate life with you.”

“Your dream was to be in the Border Police,” Teri said, “and after that in the [civilian] police, at least you accomplished one of them. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to describe who you were, only someone who truly knew you could do it. Shirel, thank you for the privilege of being in your presence. What they say is true: God always takes the good ones first.”

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