'He actually saved his niece's life': Encino man killed in Hamas attack in Israel honored at rally

Amy Powell Image
Monday, October 23, 2023
Encino event honors SoCal man killed in Hamas attack on Israel
A San Fernando Valley man was among the hundreds of people killed in the Hamas attack on civilians in Israel.

ENCINO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hundreds of people gathered in Encino Sunday to show their support for Israel and mourn the lives lost during the horrific attack by Hamas.

Among those killed in the initial attacks was a San Fernando Valley man.

Avi Sassi was attending a music festival with his niece when the militants launched a surprise attack, killing hundreds of civilians.

Family and friends say he died protecting his niece.

"It was shocking, devastating," said Pazit Barlev, who attended the rally. "So sad. He actually saved his niece's life just by laying on her."

"So many lost their lives like that to save someone else."

Hundreds of people took part in the march and rally, pledging their support for Israel. Drivers along Ventura Boulevard waved flags and honked their horns.

Many marchers carried signs with photos of adults and children - civilians believed to be held hostage by Hamas.

"We want all the hostages home and we won't stop these rallies until all the hostages come home," said Iris Yechizkia, who participated in the event.