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Pune-based family of ex-Army officer killed in Gaza awaits arrival of mortal remains

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Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd)

Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd)

Mumbai: Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd), killed while going to a hospital in Rafah region of Gaza was settled in Pune and had joined as security service coordinator with the UN three weeks ago, his family said on Tuesday.

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The last rites of the 46-year-old former Indian army officer will be held in Pune in two days after his body is flown via Cairo, his brother-in-law Wing Commander Prasant Karde (Retd) told PTI.

Col Kale was travelling in a vehicle carrying the flag of the United Nations when it came under fire, said Wing Commander Karde, a senior commander with IndiGo.

“Waibhav left the army three years ago and had settled in Pune. He hailed from Nagpur and had studied at the Somalwar high school there,” he said.

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The former infantry officer decided to join the UN to pursue his career and also because he was keen in humanitarian mission work, he added.

“While Waibhav succumbed to his bullet injuries, another officer who was with him in the vehicle, is critical and undergoing treatment,” Wing Commander Karde said.

Waibhav’s body is being flown from Cairo and will land either in Mumbai or Pune depending on the availability of flights, he said.

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While in the Indian Army, Col Kale had participated in a UN peacekeeping mission in Congo in 2009-10 on deputation, Wing Commander Karde said. “In fact, that stint was a motivation for undertaking the latest UN stint which proved fatal,” he added.

The army officer had commanded the 11 JAK Rifles in Kashmir and had been an instructor at the army’s Infantry School in Mhow.

“Waibhav who joined the army in 1998, had in his more than two decades long career in the military, served in the north-east and also in the Siachen glacier. He was a former deputy commander of Rashtriya Rifles in Kashmir and was a part of counter intelligence and counter terrorism operations,” he said.

He is survived wife Amruta and two teenage children, son Vedant and daughter Radhika.

His brother Group Captain Vishal Kale is a senior officer in the Indian Air Force, and his cousin Colonel Amey Kale is also in the army.

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