Soldiers' Coffins Arrive in Israel

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TEL NOF AIR FORCE BASE, Israel - The coffins carrying the remains of the six Israeli Air Force soldiers killed when their helicopter crashed in Romania arrived at Tel Nof Air Force Base on Friday morning.

It was an emotional homecoming.

Members of the IDF Rabbinate, who were flown to Romania after the accident, worked late Thursday evening to complete the difficult task of identifying the bodies according to Jewish law.

On Friday morning, following a short memorial service in Romania, the six coffins were loaded aboard a Boeing 767 aircraft sent by the IDF for that purpose. After reciting the Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer for the deceased, the plane took off for Israel.

The last two CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, which had participated in the joint exercise, and two C-130 Hercules planes, which arrived after the crash, also departed for home.

Air Force Commander Brig.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan and IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz greeted the returning crew members when the planes touched down at the Tel Nof base.

The six soldiers - four pilots and two onboard aviation mechanics - will be laid to rest in military cemeteries near their homes on Friday afternoon.

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