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Shlomit residents return home, remembering the fallen heroes

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Middle East | March 2, 2024 4:56:47 AM IST
Tel Aviv [Israel], March 2 (ANI/TPS): Residents of Shlomit, a religious community near the Gaza Strip, returned home on Wednesday nearly five months after being forced to evacuate.

"We return to Shlomit unified and resilient as a community," resident Kobi Revivo told the Tazpit Press Service. The family of six was evacuated to Jerusalem along with the rest of the community's 80 families.

While happy to return to their homes, it was a bittersweet day as people recalled the neighbors who died on October 7.

"We return as strong as we left, yet we are not the same. Four remarkable individuals are absent, leaving behind a legacy we are compelled to honor, ensuring the ongoing growth, prosperity, and vitality of our community," Revivo said.

The community, 15 km from the Gaza border, was evacuated on October 8, leaving in one single convoy to Jerusalem. On Wednesday, the residents made a communal decision to return in one single convoy, closing the circle.

On the eve of October 7, nothing foreshadowed Hamas's attack on Gaza-area communities. The residents joyously celebrated the holiday of Simchat Torah, with lively dancing in the community synagogue on Friday night, residents recalled.

But instead of continued dancing and a festive meal the next day, the morning brought rocket fire, sirens and reports of terrorists infiltrating nearby communities.

Terrorists trying to infiltrate the nearby community of Pri Gan killed four members of Shlomit's civilian security team who rushed to help. Four widows and their 15 children were among the returnees.

As a symbolic gesture during the event, a cornerstone was laid for a fortified daycare center.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas's attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the remaining 134 hostages, Israel recently declared 31 of them dead.

More than 200,000 Israelis living near the Gaza and Lebanese borders were forced to evacuate. (ANI/TPS)

 
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