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St.-Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky, 21

St.-Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky, 21

Mar 26, 2010 - St.-Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky, 21, of Rishon Lezion was killed in an exchange of fire with terrorists who were planting explosives along the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip.

A team of soldiers from Golani''s Battalion 12 entered the Strip around 2:40 p.m. after several men were spotted placing what seemed to be explosive devices near the Gaza border fence on Thursday night. The force was then attacked with mortar shells and gunfire from inside the Strip, as well as an explosive device that went off nearby. In the fire exchange that ensued, at least four Palestinians were killed and several others wounded. St.-Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky and Maj. Eliraz Peretz were killed in the exchange of fire.

The Sviatkovsky family immigrated to Israel from Uzbekistan in 1994. Ilan''s brother Arik related that his family always worried about Ilan, who was a veteran fighter on the Gaza front: "Our parents always worried about him. He was already in ''Cast Lead'' and fought there. My mother didn''t want him to enlist to Golani. With me she succeeded, because I didn''t go to combat - but my brother was intoxicated. He loved the army so much. Now, when he was approaching the end of his service, he had plans to take a trip. He also planned to go to school."

"I spoke to him two days ago, it was our last conversation," Arik said. "He was a little annoyed with the guarding, but he really loved the army. Two weeks ago, when he arrived from the base, we went out together. It was the last time we were together." Ilan was an avid fan of the Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer club, and would watch its games when he came home for the weekend.

St.-Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky was buried in the military cemetery in Rishon Lezion. He is survived by his parents and his 24-year-old brother Arik.

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