Druze Soldier Kills Self Hours After Friend Takes Own Life

Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers committed suicide within an hour of each other Friday for reasons that remain unclear.

The soldiers, both 20 years old and both from the Druze village of Daliat al-Carmel, were good friends who served on the same Haifa-area base.

The first victim, Ashraf Mareeh, ate breakfast with his family early Friday morning before suddenly walking into the yard and shooting himself with his army-issued weapon.

News of the tragedy soon reached the father of Loai Nasser al-Din, who had been friends with Mareeh since childhood. The man said he feared his son would take drastic measures upon hearing the news and therefore wanted to inform him himself.

"I tried calling but he didn't answer. After fifteen minutes he called me, but was speaking hysterically and asking that I come right away to take him off the base. He already knew," the soldier's father said.

"Within 20 minutes I was at the entrance of the base. I tried calling him again, but he didn't answer. I entered the base, told them the story and they held me up until the commanding officer arrived and gave me the bitter news," he said.

Family members described the two soldiers as close friends, and struggled to pinpoint any recent event that could have led either to take his own life.

The two soldiers will be interred alongside one another at the Isfiya military cemetery on Mount Carmel.