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Son of former IDF chief killed by Hamas tunnel bomb

Gal Eisenkot's death comes two weeks after Israel killed the son of a Hezbollah leader
Gal Meir Eisenkot with his father, who was in the war room when he learned of his son's death - Amy Spiro / Twitter

The son of a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff who was also a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, has been killed in fighting in Gaza.

Master Sergeant Gal Meir Eisenkot, the 25-year-old son of Gadi Eisenkot, was critically injured when a bomb exploded in a tunnel shaft in the Jabaliya camp in northern Gaza. He was taken to hospital in Israel, where he died of his injuries.

‌Mr Eisenkot, an observer in the war cabinet, was in the war room when he learned of his son’s death.

Gal Eisenkot was one of two soldiers killed in the latest fighting, bringing the total of IDF fatalities to 89.

His death comes just over two weeks after Israel killed the son of a senior Hezbollah politician in south Lebanon.

The deaths of family members of senior figures on both sides of the conflict will heighten tension even further in the region.

The son of Moroccan immigrants, Gadi Eisenkot, has emerged as a significant political figure in Israel. He is closely associated with Benny Gantz, the leader of the National Unity Party.

Mr Gantz, who was in opposition but joined Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unity government, sent his condolences.

‘Keep each other strong’

“Gadi, we’ve known each other for years,” he said. “I know how strong you are and how united your family is,” he wrote.

“You’ve always protected our home as well as your personal home. I’m sure that this will remain. You will look after your family and you will all keep each other strong.”

Mr Netanyahu said he and his wife were heartbroken.

“Gal was a brave soldier and a real hero. We are sending condolences from the bottom of our hearts to your family and the families of all the brave fallen soldiers. Our heroes didn’t die in vain. We will continue to fight until we win,” he said.

Amir Tibon, a journalist for the Left-leaning Haaretz newspaper and survivor of the Hamas attack, said that the night Mr Eisenkot joined the cabinet was the first time he was able to sleep well after the attack.

Mr Tibon called Mr Eisenkot the “most serious, profound and patriotic man in our politics”.

Mr Eisenkot Senior’s military career began when he served as part of the elite Golani Brigade, eventually becoming its head.

He became chief of staff in February 2015, holding the post until January 2019.

Mr Eisenkot is also seen as one of the architects of the “Dahiya Doctrine” – the use of disproportionate force in response to attacks.

In 2008, he told an Israeli newspaper: “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases.‌

“This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorised.”