Israeli air force pilot dies after ejecting from jet that crashed on way back from Gaza

Local reports say Major Ohad Cohen Nov was flying back from attacking Hamas training camps

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The Independent Online

An Israeli air force pilot has died after he ejected from a fighter jet which had caught fire.

The F-16I jet crash landed while flying in to the Ramon Air Force base in southern Israel.

Deputy squadron commander Major Ohad Cohen Nov was killed as he attempted to escape the flames.

The 34-year-old was reportedly flying his plane back from Gaza, where the Israeli air force says it was launching attacks on Hamas  targets in the Gaza strip in an apparent reaction to the bombing of the border town of Sderot earlier in the week.

Major Nov’s co-pilot was injured during the crash and evacuated to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

“The families have been notified and an Air-Force commission to review the circumstances of the crash has commenced,” the air force said in a statement.

“Deputy Squadron Commander, Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov, 34, is the pilot that was killed in the crash earlier today. May his memory be a blessing.”

Israeli police said there were no casualties when a rocket struck Sderot but the air force retaliated by attacking three Hamas training camps, believing the group was responsible for the strike.

“[The rocket attack] is the direct result of Hamas’ terror agenda in the Gaza Strip that encourages deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians,” army spokesman Peter Lerner said in a statement.

Local reports suggest the rocket was launched by members of Ahfad Sahaba, an Isis-affiliated group operating in the area, and had nothing to do with Hamas fighters.

The group posted a statement on various news websites claiming to have carried out the attack in the name of “oppressed brothers and sisters” under Israeli occupation. 

Hamas is yet to offer any statement regarding the death of Major Nov, but said of the Israeli attacks in Gaza: “Hamas stresses it can not keep silent if the escalation continues.”

Major Nov’s funeral is due to be held at Moshav Mazor cemetery on Friday morning, the air force confirmed on Twitter.