Family weep for soldier who died two years after rocket attack in Yemen
First Sergeant Naser Gharib Al Mazrouei had been in a coma since attack that claimed tens of lives and daughter would try to wake him and then cry on hospital visits
Family and friends of First Sergeant Naser Gharib Al Mazrouei gathered on Monday to pay tribute to the father, son and friend, who died two years after sustaining injuries while on duty in Yemen.
Al Mazrouei was injured in September 2015 in a rocket attack on an ammunition store for the 107th Brigade caused several explosions that resulted in the deaths of about 50 Emirati soldiers.
The 31-year-old from Sharjah had been in a coma since and was being treated for severe brain injuries at Zayed Military Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
He is the second soldier to die on Monday after the General Command of the Armed Forces said that an Emirati pilot died when his plane crashed in Yemen. Second Lieutenant Sultan Mohamed Ali Al Naqbi was killed when the aircraft crashed due to a technical failure.
Read more: Emirati pilot killed in plane crash in Yemen
Al Mazrouei’s sister said the family had been living in hope that he would wake to see his two children again.
“We prayed for him each day for the past two years, we prayed and hoped that he would wake up and come back home to his family and kids but he didn’t,” said Latifa Al Mazrouei, 27.
“We were planning to go and visit him today but instead he came to visit us. Losing him is very painful but he was relieved from the pain and is now in good hands.”
She said the family received a call in the early hours of Monday with the news and her father was the first to know.
“They called my father at 3.30am in the morning and he took the news with great pride, then he told my mother and she informed us all. I didn't sleep since last night - nobody did. His sacrifice will not be forgotten and he will be missed."
Al Mazrouei leaves behind a wife and two children - daughter Jory, 4, and son Hamad, 2 - in addition to four brothers and four sisters.
“His daughter Jory used to try to wake him up when she visited him at the hospital and then cry,” Ms Al Mazrouei said. “When they grow up they will understand their father’s sacrifice and his love for the country and they will feel proud and honoured.”
Al Mazrouei’s aunt, Moudi Al Shageh, said the family is in disbelief.
“We can’t imagine that he will not return home. He was kind to all of us and especially to his parents. We will miss his jokes and smile,” said the 32-year-old.
“We were almost the same age and he was my best friend. His dream was to join the Armed Forces and he directly joined them after finishing high school.
“His mother used to visit him every Friday and I used to go whenever I could. It was not easy to see him in such a situation but we prayed for him day and night. We will miss him a lot but he will always be remembered.”
Funeral prayers were held at Sayid Al Shohada mosque in Kalba after Al Asr prayers on Monday and he was buried at Kalba Cemetery.
Updated: September 12, 2017 11:23 AM