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Israeli Father Dies in Ambush

December 3, 2001

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GADERA, Israel (AP) _ Moments after he was shot by Palestinian militants on a road in the Gaza Strip, Baruch Zinger managed to dial his cell phone and speak to his son at an army base a few hundred yards away.

``They shot at my father,″ Staff Sgt. Oded Zinger told fellow soldiers as he hung up. From the tank he commanded, he could see his father’s car standing motionless in the middle of the road.

His tank sped to the scene of the ambush while the unit’s two-way radio crackled with the words of soldiers in his unit, discussing whether the man in the car was dead or alive.

Oded Zinger did not need anyone to tell him. He knew the words he had just heard from his father were his last.

``I see them three or four meters behind me, they are going to shoot me,″ Baruch Zinger said before the conversation abruptly ended and he was shot again, this time fatally.

When a commander called to give Oded Zinger the bitter news, he told him he already knew, said the driver of the tank, Oded Busharian.

Baruch Zinger, 51, a scientist, had arrived at the base moments earlier to pick up his son for a short vacation, and Oded had asked his father to fetch his replacement at the nearby Jewish settlement of Elei Sinai. It was on the way there that two Palestinians shot at the car, Busharian said.

Before he dialed his son’s number, the wounded man also called his wife, Nurit, and ask her to call the police.

Even as Oded Zinger’s tank passed near the car where medics were attending to his father, he followed orders of his commander, who did not yet know the identity of the victim, and directed his tank to join the search for the attackers, Busharian said.

Moments later, a nearby tank fired the six grenades and four shells that killed the two Palestinian suspects.

Authorities later told the younger Zinger that the militants, dressed as Israeli soldiers, approached the car after his father had already been shot and shot him again at point blank range. He was one of 26 people killed in a series of weekend attacks by militants targeting Israelis.

At the funeral Monday in the southern town of Gadera, he spoke of a father who made many sacrifices for his four children.

``You didn’t sleep because I was in the army,″ said Zinger, 21, choking back tears. ``I won’t say good-bye ... because you are still here in my face, in my eyes and in my heart.″

When Oded was unable to come home for the weekends, his parents would visit him, bringing him his favorite foods, family friends said.

His older brother, Elad, chanted the Jewish mourner’s prayer as many sobbed around him. ``He will bring peace on us and on all the people of Israel,″ he said somberly as Israeli combat helicopters flew over the funeral, in the direction of the Gaza Strip.

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