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Jun 8, 2003 | 8th of Sivan, 5763 | ח׳ בסיון תשס״ג
June 8, 2003 – Sgt. Maj. (Res.) Chen Engel, 32 of Ramat Gan was one of four soldiers killed when Palestinian terrorists opened fire on an IDF outpost near the Erez checkpoint and industrial zone in the Gaza Strip.
At about 5:30 on Sunday morning, three terrorists wearing IDF uniforms and armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades passed through the checkpoint for Palestinian laborers on their way to work in the Erez industrial zone. They then crossed the fence and wall separating the outpost from the industrial zone. At the entrance to the outpost, the terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at a warrant officer, Sgt. Maj. Boaz Emete, who was fixing a tank, killing him. The terrorists continued to fire killing two reserve soldiers on guard duty at the outpost gates – Sgt. Maj. (Res.) Assaf Abergil and Sgt. Maj. (Res.) Udi Eilat. Penetrating into the outpost, they killed another reserve soldier, Sgt. Maj. (Res.) Chen Engel, and wounded four others, before being killed by soldiers from the response team. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad issued a joint statement claiming responsibility for the attack.
Chen Engel grew up in Bat-Yam and Holon and attended the ORT High School in Holon. During his army service in the Nahal paratroops, he spent time in Kibbutz Ginossar where he settled after the army. His wife Lilach was a member of his Nahal group and they were married five years ago.
After completing engineering studies at the Tel-Hai Regional College, he and his wife Lilach, in her fifth month of pregnancy and their 3-year-old son moved to a new flat in Ramat Gan a few months ago which they renovated. A trained software programmer, he worked for his father Mordechai in the car industry “the brains and heart of the business,” said a relative. It was typical of him said friends that soon after they moved in he volunteered to run the house committee.
Chen’s friends say he didn’t need to be at the Erez junction that his medical profile had been lowered since he served in the Nahal paratroops and that he could have opted out of combat duty, but he insisted on volunteering. He began his reserve duty at Erez fort on Thursday. He was a modest honest man who loved music and believed in coexistence and preached it.
Sgt. Maj. (Res.) Chen Engel was buried in the military section of the Nes Ziona cemetery. He is survived by his wife Lilach and their 3-year-old son Itamar.
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