Staff Sergeant Bar Yakubian (L) and Sergeant Eshto Tespo (R [Photo Source: IDF]

Staff Sgt. Bar Yakubian of blessed memory, a 19-year-old combat soldier, from of Netiv HaShayara, and 21-year-old Staff Sgt. Eshto Tespo, from Petah Tikva, both combat soldiers from the Golani Brigade, were two Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers identified in a fatal car crash that took place yesterday in central Israel, the IDF said. In the car accident, ten more soldiers were injured and evacuated to a hospital for medical treatment. One of the soldiers was reported to have been seriously injured, one moderately, and the rest light.

According to The Jewish Press, the soldiers were making their way south on highway 6 in a convoy of three military jeeps when a truck driver, an east Jerusalem resident, lost control and crashed into one of the jeeps. The truck driver was taken to Laniado Hospital in Netanya and detained for questioning by police after being discharged. He was later arrested and remanded at the Petach Tikva traffic court on Wednesday. The residents of East Jerusalem are predominantly Arab and clashes between Arab residents and Israelis in the area are unfortunately not uncommon.

In the aftermath of the fatal crash, the highway was closed to traffic with fire crews working to extract the injured and the casualties who were evacuated to hospital by a helicopter which landed on the highway.

Both of the soldiers were posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

The funeral of the late Staff Sergeant Bar Yakubian will be held today (Wednesday) at 14:00 in the cemetery in the lane of the convoy. The funeral of Staff Sergeant Eshto Tespo z “l will take place at 13:30 in the Segula cemetery in Petah Tikva. The families requested that the media avoid the funerals. 

The commander of the Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, is establishing a team of experts headed by Col. Yair Natans, the commander of the “Kidon” unit, to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the deceased soldiers. May the names and memories of Staff Sgt. Bar Yakubian and Staff Sgt. Eshto Tespo be a blessing.