JERUSALEM (JTA) — The body of Israeli hiker Or Asraf was retrieved from a remote area of Nepal and will be returned to Israel.
The Israel rescue teams on Monday took the body extracted from a rocky mountainside in the Langtang area and airlifted it to Kathmandu. It was scheduled to be flown to Israel on Tuesday, according to reports.
Several of Asraf’s army comrades and his commander, who had arrived in Kathmandu last week to join in the search, carried the body on a stretcher after extracting it from a mountainside struck by rock slides and sent a message to his mother: “This is our last journey with our friend. We are bringing him home to you,” the IDF said in a statement.
Several European hikers also died in the same area, which was hit by rock slides and heavy rain in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25.
Asraf, 22, had been traveling with members of his former Israeli army unit, but left for a hike on his own shortly before the quake hit. The death toll as of Monday morning was at least 7,200. Hundreds of Israelis were in the area at the time of the quake; Asraf was the only Israeli fatality.
Asraf, who was injured in Israel’s operation in Gaza last summer, was on a trip to far-flung places that was due to end in July. While on his trip, he kept in touch with the mothers of his friends who fell during Operation Protective Edge, including taking pictures of himself holding his friends’ photo in the exotic places, according to the IDF. He volunteered at schools and agricultural villages in Nepal during his time there.