The father of an Israeli soldier shot by suspected Hamas terrorists has called his survival a “miracle” after one bullet hit a grenade he was carrying and it did not explode.
Two servicemen of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were shot and wounded during a raid on a suspected Hamas cell in the West Bank on Sunday morning.
Five Hamas suspects were reportedly killed in the raid, which Israeli officials said prevents a major terrorist attack.
One IDF soldier, identified by his rank as captain and the first Hebrew initial of his name, ‘Dalet’, was struck by nine bullets during a gunfight with suspected terrorists in the West Bank town of Burqin, according to his father Yossi.
The father said: “There was a fragmentation grenade on his vest. One of the bullets hit the grenade and split it in two and it didn’t explode.”
He added: “If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.”
Yossi said that the condition of his son has improved greatly since Wednesday, adding that he responded to questions by nodding his head.
Yossi continued: “After three days of my son undergoing surgeries for hours, this morning his doctors started trying to wean him off anaesthetics so that he’ll wake up.”
A second soldier, name not disclosed, was also wounded in the gunfight and he left the intensive care unit on Wednesday to recover in a ward.
According to reports, Dalet’s grenade did not explode because newer models are designed to be less likely to go off when hit by a bullet.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi visited the soldiers on Monday and told their families that their actions helped to prevent an impending terrorist attack.
Kohavi is quoted as saying to the relatives: “It is important for you to know that if we had not stopped this network of the Hamas terror organisation, they would have been at an advanced stage and would have carried out attacks in Israeli cities. Your sons prevented these attacks.”
Israeli PM Naftali Bennett said: “Security forces acted tonight in Judea and Samaria against Hamas terrorists who were poised to carry out terror attacks in the immediate future.”
The IDF said five suspects were killed and at least seven were arrested during raids throughout Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning, claiming that the alleged Hamas cell opened fire first.
The IDF also seized five firearms and ammunition, and that several other suspects were arrested on nights leading up to the weekend raids.
However, the Israeli authorities believe several cell members are still on the run.