His unit was creeping into a house in Gaza looking for Hamas militants when it happened. They tripped a wire. The house was booby-trapped and three improvised explosive devices detonated, spraying them with sharp metal shrapnel. His commander and two of his buddies collapsed, killed by the impact. Doron Ziv, a soldier with the Israeli Defense Forces, had a searing pain a few inches from his eye where a pellet from the bombs lodged in his face. Three inches closer to the socket and he would be blind now.
At least 35 Israeli soldiers have been killed and scores injured since the start of the current conflict with Hamas, along with hundreds of casualties inside Gaza. The IDF rarely allows soldiers to speak on camera, but they gave NBC News unprecedented access. At 21, Ziv is two years into his three-year obligatory service. He has spent the past week fighting up close and personal with an enemy he sometimes can't even recognize. Hamas fighters often disguise themselves by wearing IDF uniforms. So you can't know if the solider is from the IDF or someone who wants to shoot you, he says.
Ziv will visit the families of his fallen comrades next week and "tell them the story from there and to tell them how much I loved their boys and children ... How brave they are."
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