Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO
Chadian President Idriss Deby and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent official Israeli condolences to the people of Chad after President Idriss Deby was killed in action by rebel forces in the country.

After having led his nation for 30 years, Deby died Tuesday, one day after he had again won re-election in a landslide majority of 79.3 percent. He succumbed from wounds received while leading his army on the front lines of a conflict with rebel forces.

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“I send my deepest condolences to the people of Chad on the passing of President Idriss Deby,” Netanyahu wrote. “We will miss his bold leadership and always remember his historic decision to renew Chad’s relationship with Israel.”

Chad is a large, central African Muslim-majority nation located on the borders of Libya and Sudan.

Making History: Israel and Chad Resume Diplomatic Relations

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Chadian president announced to gathered journalists in Chad’s capital the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two nations, 47 years after they were severed. The announcement followed Netanyahu’s historic visit to Ndjamena, the first by an Israeli prime minister since the visit of Golda Meir in 1969. Deby made history the previous year when he became the first Chadian president to visit the Jewish State.

The national army of Chad said in a confirmation read on national television that Deby had died of wounds he received while commanding his military forces in battle against rebels in the north, according to The Africa Report.

The Chadian soldiers were reportedly attacked by members of the Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT – Front for Change and Concord in Chabad), who had arrived from their base in Libya on April 11 with the specific goal of ousting Deby.

Chadian Army spokesperson General Azem Bemrandoua Agouna said the country’s army had been pushed back by a column of rebel forces who were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena.

Deby had chosen to visit the Chadian soldiers on the front lines rather than staying to deliver a victory speech after provisional results were received.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.