Eden Nimri, an international-level Israeli swimmer who was killed in fighting against Hamas militants on October 7, reportedly did so while protecting her unit in the southern Israel village of Nahal Oz.
Nimri, 22, was a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and a commander of a drone unit, known as the “Sky Raiders.”
According to a story broadcasted on Channel 5 TV in Israel (and reposted by the Israeli Swimming Federation), Nimri was killed while protecting her allies, both members of her unit and other female soldiers.
According to the report, which features both her parents and her boyfriend—who was also an officer in the Sky Raider unit and is shown with his back to the camera to keep his identity unknown—speaking, Nimri and four female soldiers in the Sky Raider unit were situated at the Nahal Oz outpost when they were joined by an additional group of female soldiers.
Nimri reportedly taught the reinforcement soldiers how to load their weapons, and they began preparing for a potential terrorist infiltration.
Her boyfriend then describes how a terrorist entered the outpost, and because Nimri had taught the group how to use their weapons, the terrorist was killed on the spot.
“A terrorist with a Kalashnikov (rifle) loaded (entered), and the fact that Eden fired her weapon and caused all her team to do the same, saved their lives,” he said, via translation.
Seconds later, three grenades hit the area, which Nimri reportedly “protected with her body,” shielding the other soldiers from impact, which took her life. Her boyfriend said that the four other members of her unit and six of the other soldiers managed to escape as a result.
Hours later, the survivors returned to the scene where Nimri was found, her parents said.
Nimri represented Israel internationally at the 2018 European Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, placing 30th. She also represented her country at the 2017 ISF World Schools Championships and the 2014 Mediterranean Cup.
“Eden was an amazing girl, a good friend, competitive, especially hardworking, had a high self-discipline, worked hard, always aiming high, set goals and met them,” the Israel Swimming Association said on Instagram shortly after her death.
Nimri swam her last official meet in December 2019 at the Israeli Short Course Swimming Championships.
Nimri was killed on the first day of the attacks which have escalated into a war. As of November 19, over 13,000 Palestinians and 1,100 Israelis have been killed in the war according to their respective governments.