Corporal Yahalomi's family are observant Jews. They received the news of his death right before the Sabbath. Under Jewish Law one cannot mourn on the Sabbath. Can you imagine what they are going through?
The IDF confirmed that the terrorists ambushed the group of IDF soldiers while they were providing water to African migrants who had arrived at the border trying to cross into Israel.
Shots were fired at IDF Artillery Corps and Karkal (Wildcat) battalion soldiers from a distance of 100 meters. One soldier sustained a bullet wound to the head and was killed immediately, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.
The soldiers instantly returned fire, shooting dead two terrorists. A group of Border Patrol undercover soldiers also responded to the incident, giving chase and killing the third, the Border Patrol stated.
In the heavy exchanges of fire, a suicide bomb belt around one of the terrorists went off. Shrapnel from that blast lightly injured a soldier from the Artillery Corps. He was taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Be'ersheba, where doctors operated on him.
"The IDF stopped a very big terrorist attack," Mordechai said. "The terrorists planned on going on a killing spree, either inside Israel or along the border," he added
IDF sappers recovered a large number of firearms and explosives from the terrorists after the incident, including and RPD machine gun, a rocket propelled grenade, Kalashnikov guns, ammunition, grenades, and personal equipment. The terrorists were dressed in civilian clothing.
The attack occurred along a 17 kilometer stretch of the border where the fence has not yet been completed, in the Har Harif area.
"We don't believe this was a kidnapping attempt. There are no terrorists in Israeli territory," Mordechai added.
OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo arrived on the scene and inspected the area where fighting took place.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz held a special evaluation of the situation.
Security forces are now attempting to figure out whether the terrorists were Salafi jihadi elements from Sinai, or whether they originated from the Gaza Strip.
The Sinai Peninsula has become a hornet's nest of jihadi activity, and is also often used by Gaza terror elements to launch attacks on the southern Israeli border.
On Wednesday, three Palestinian terrorists were killed in an airstrike in Gaza. They were planning to carry out an imminent terror attack in Israel, and in the past had attempted to smuggle explosives out of Gaza and into Israel through Sinai. The terrorists belonged to the Hamas offshoot group Defenders of Al-Aqsa.
Last month, terrorists with explosives in Sinai murdered 16 Egyptian security personnel and tried to burst through the Israeli border with vehicles they hijacked from an Egyptian base. The IDF stemmed the attack and destroyed the hijacked vehicle, killing the terrorists.
In 2011, eight Israelis were murdered by a terror cell that crossed into Israel from Egypt's Sinai.
May the G-d of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob bring solace to the Yahalomi family. The contributors of Monkey in the Middle send to the family and friends of Corporal Yahalomi.
"Netanel was born in Bnei Brak, and then we moved to Nof Ayalon," said his father, Shmuel Yahalomi. "He was a Torah student at the Mitzpe Yeriho Yeshiva. "He insisted on serving in a combat unit and joined the Artillery Corps, where I also served."
The father added that Netanel used to study Torah even during his vacations.
Relatives and friends broke into tears as they entered the Yahalomi house on Friday afternoon. Netanel's sister, Avital, said: "He went to defend the State and land. That is what he fought and was killed for. He died so we could live here. It was not an unnecessary death. God will give us the power to cope."
Corporal Yahalomi was survived by his parents and five siblings. His family spoke of an uncompromising person who fought for justice. "He was a smart and successful guy, and helped everyone in whichever way he could."
His sister Avital noted that Netanel had refused to tell the family where he served. "It was important to him to keep it secret and he didn't want us to worry either."