Israeli killed in Italy earthquake flown home for Friday funeral
Hussein Hamada, 22, of Western Galilee village of Kabul, was killed when his dorm building collapsed.
The Israeli medical student killed in the earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy will be buried Friday in his Western Galilee village.
Hussein Hamada, 22, of Kabul, was killed when his dorm building collapsed.
The plane carrying Hamada's remains is expected to land early Friday morning, along with Hamada's father, Dr. Amin Hamada, and other relatives who flew to Italy to take part in the rescue effort.
Even though they were told it was unlikely Hamada was still alive, the family prayed for a miracle - in part because an Italian woman said she had seen Hussein, slightly injured, being taken away by stretcher. However, it turned out that she had seen a different Israeli student.
On Wednesday afternoon, the family received official notice that Hamada's body had been found in the rubble of the dorm building, along with four others. His uncle Mohammed Kandil said a relative identified Hamada.
Hamada's mother and siblings received the news from neighbors.
"We believe in fate and this is the will of God, but still we hoped for a miracle," the uncle said.
Hamada's mother, Sana Hamada, a teacher, said a few hours after receiving the news: "I had a bad feeling from the first day of the tragedy. My heart told me my son was no longer alive. I felt it. A mother feels the truth even if it is bitter. All his friends who studied with him in Italy only had good things to say about him, and that comforts me. He wanted to be a doctor and even though he will not be, I hope his friends who went to school with him will fulfill the dream for him and for me."
The family praised everyone involved in the rescue effort, including the Israeli Foreign Ministry's situation room in Rome and the consulate, and members of the Arab community in Italy that hosted the father over the past week.
The death count from the disaster has risen to 260, including 116 children. This makes it Italy's deadliest earthquake in more than 30 years.