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Friday, May 14, 2004

Pkuach Nefesh

Searches for soldier remains to continue through Shabbat

JPost: Funerals of three of five soldiers killed on Wednesday when their armored personnel carrier exploded in Rafah are taking place Friday afternoon.
Sergeant Elad Cohen, 20 of Jerusalem was buried at 1 p.m. at the Mt. Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem.

Staff Sergeant Lior Vishinski, 20, of Ramat Gan, was laid to rest at 2 p.m. in the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Staff Sergeant major Aiman Gadir, 24, of Bir Makhsur was buried at the cemetary in his village, also at 2 p.m.

Soldiers will continue searching for their comrades throughout the Shabbat, said Army chief rabbi Yisrael Weiss. Weiss said he made the decision after consulting with OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen Dan Harel Who informed him that if searches are called off and resumed after the Shabbat, "the enemy would also return and soldiers would find the territory much more dangerous."

Weiss said that working through the Shabbat to find the remains of the soldiers in order to bring them back for burial was an act of 'Pikuach Nefesh' - saving lives.

Israel Defense Forces troops on Friday morning resumed searching for the remains of First Lieutenant Aviv Hakani, 23, of Ashdod, Sgt. Za'ur Smeilev, 20 killed in Wednesday's attack on their APC in the Philadelphia Corridor in Rafah.

Soldiers guarding their comrades, who are searching the sands on their hands and knees, shot a Palestinian suspected of trying to throw a grenade at the troops.