“When we realized it was him, the heart exploded into pieces”: Denis Yakimov who fell in Gaza was laid to rest

Sergeant Major (res.), Denis Yakimov, 33 years old at the time of his death, a fighter in the auxiliary company of the 17th Battalion of the Bislah Brigade, who fell yesterday (Saturday), in the battle in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip – was laid to rest. He left behind his father, a small daughter , two brothers and a sister and his wife.

Yakimov, a resident of Petah Tikva, graduated in software engineering at Sami Shimon College in Be’er Sheva and worked at a hi-tech company. At this time (Sunday) the late Yakimov is laid to rest in the cemetery in Be’er Sheva.

His little daughter Danlina paid tribute to him: “You were my friend in this world. I love you very, very much. I wanted to see you. I will never see you. Only in pictures. You were the best father in the world.”

Daughter of the late Denis by the mother, Photo: Dodo Greenspan

His father Sergei gave him a painful eulogy: “It’s a bit difficult for me, I’m sorry, I’ll speak in Russian. (Switching to Russian, A.Y.). My dear son, you were resilient, healthy, strong, real handsome and very smart. You gave your life for the land of Israel, you did To the best of your ability, well done to you. I am proud of you, may the earth be as soft as a feather for you, you sacrificed yourself, you are a champion. You are strong, they say in Hebrew ‘what a man’, it is very difficult for me, but there is nothing I can do, it is fate. I am very happy and thank you all that you came to say goodbye to him on his last journey. I thank you very much, you are very good people.”

His brother Igor eulogized him: “I’m already starting to miss you. You’re the salt of the earth. Sorry. But life doesn’t stop. You left behind the most precious thing you had, your daughter. We’ll take care of her like you took care of us. You sacrificed everything for us.” Dima, another brother, paid tribute to him: “Words cannot describe what you were for us. You were killed in defense of the homeland. Like a true hero. You were a role model. We will always take care of your daughter.”

“You were the best father in the world.” The funeral of the late Denis Yakimov,

His sister Diana said that they would publish his book, even if it didn’t have an end. “I would read every story of yours. I will publish your book and it will be heartbreaking without end.”

His comrades in the 17th Battalion said: “Dennis was killed tonight while fighting with the force that led the assault and fighting in Khan Yunis in an area infested with terrorists who tried to prevent us from advancing. Unfortunately, during the attack, a volley fired at the force from close range hit Dennis. When he reported about a ‘flower’ , wounded to our strength, we all hoped for a better ending. When the wounded man became killed our hearts broke, when we realized that it was Denis, the heart exploded into pieces.”

“We found a drawing of your little girl in the purse”

His fellow soldiers serving with him in the auxiliary paid tribute to him: “The family of auxiliary 17, bows its head for the death of our beloved and brave friend, the late Denis Yakimov, who fell last night during the battle to conquer Khan Yunis. Dennis, one of the best veterans of the company’s soldiers, acted as part of the attacking force and unfortunately was hit by the terrorists’ fire. We share in the family’s grief and may his soul be wrapped in the bundle of life. We wish continued health and success to all our fighting brothers. We love you Dennis and promise to complete the task. Your friends and commanders from the 17th aid.

His fellow fighters also told about him: “We all remember how in the first round in Gaza that ended not long ago, besides fighting in several sectors for 3 months, you told us that you were writing a book about this challenging period and all the soldiers in the company wanted to be included in it. ‘Dennis, have you already written about me today?’ ‘Dennis, in which episode do I appear?’, ‘Dennis, did you write that I got rid of a terrorist?’ I promise you, Dennis, that if your family chooses to do so, we will make sure that the book is published.”

The funeral procession of the late Denis Yakimov, Photo: Dodo Greenspan

“Our beloved Denis, it was a great pleasure for us commanders and comrades to be and to fight by your side. It is important to us that everyone who knows you, your family, your little girl who drew you a picture we found in your wallet, the comrades and in general the entire people of Israel, that everyone knew that yesterday we lost a hero.”

The mayor of Beer Sheva, Rubik Danilovich, published a message in his memory: “The city of Beer Sheva mourns and grieves over the death of the city’s resident, Sergeant Major (res.) Denis Yakimov, a fighter in the 17th Battalion – Bislah Brigade, in the battle in the Gaza Strip. We bow our heads And share in the heavy sorrow of his family and loved ones. May his memory be blessed.”

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