Jewish Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A South African-born Jewish soldier serving in the Australian army was killed in Afghanistan. 

Pvt. Gregory Sher, 30, was with a Special Operations Task Group when he was killed Sunday in a rocket attack by Taliban insurgents on a military compound in the Oruzgan Province, southwest of Kabul.

An Orthodox Jewish burial in Melbourne is scheduled for Sunday.

The Sher family issued a statement Wednesday through the Defense Department.

"Greg was a man of purpose and committed determination," it said. "He was an extremely positive person with a kind soul."

The family said Sher’s decision to serve his country was "a true indication of his character."

Sher had served in East Timor, where he had received the Australian Active Service Medal, the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor Medal and the Infantry Combat badge. He also was awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO medal and the Australian Defense Medal.

Sher, who moved to Australia with his family in 1986, was the eighth Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2002.

"This brave soldier, wearing the uniform of Australia, died in the field of duty wearing his nation’s uniform, wearing it with pride," Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Monday.

Australia has just over 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, where a U.S.-led coalition of about 70,000 troops has been fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida forces in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

 

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