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Golani. Will know how to recover
Photo: Doron Golan
Soldiers injured in battle evacuated
Photo: Doron Golan
Photo: AP
IDF in Bint Jbeil
Photo: AP
Battalion 51's bad luck in Lebanon
Twelve years after losing nine fighters in Lebanon, Battalion 51 returns to field and loses eight more fighters Wednesday. Senior officer promises, 'after soldiers cry, they will take weapons and return to battle'
A senior Israel Defense Forces officer told Ynet on Wednesday night, following the killing of eight soldiers of Golani's Battalion 51 in a battle in Bint Jbeil, that "in spite of the harsh blow, after the soldiers cry for their friends they will take their weapons and return to the battle, because that is what they do best."

 

"Golani's Battalion 51 is a strong battalion, which has been through a difficult incident, but it has terrific soldiers and excellent commanders, and the way they operated today after the incident is the way they will operate in the future," the officer said.

 

"They will always remember the fallen soldiers, but will know how to recover and return to the battlefield and bring the excellent accomplishments they have always brought," he added.

 

 

In recent years, Battalion 51 was mainly known in Gush Katif. Its soldiers and commanders killed dozens of terrorists in the Gaza Strip and were the last to defend settlers before the implementation of the disengagement plan last year.

 

The Bint Jbeil incident reminded many of the grave events of October 1996. Within three days, nine of the battalion's fighters were killed, in two harsh incidents.

 

In those days, the battalion lost some of its best fighters. The IDF was deep inside Lebanon and suffered losses every day.

 

On October 12 1996, near the Aishiya post in southern Lebanon, an officer and two fighters of Battalion 51 encountered a group of terrorists.

The three were killed in the battle.

 

Three days later, a force of the same battalion left in order to deliver supplies to an armor force several kilometers away. The force made its way on the Reihan post to Aishiya, and the armored personnel carrier it was riding went on a roadside charge. Six soldiers, including Company Commander Captain Yossi Ohana, were killed.

 

Since then the battalion continued to operate and excel. In the past few years it was identified with Gush Katif. The battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel Yaniv Asor, took part in dozens of operations in Khan Yunis, uncovered tunnels and developed extraordinary relations with the community leaders in Gush Katif.

 

One of last battalions to leave Gaza 

 

On January 2005, in the terror attack which killed Gush Katif resident Gideon Rivlin, it was Company Commander Captain Benjy Hillman who attacked the two terrorists and killed them. Hillman, who later moved to the Egoz unit, was killed last week in Lebanon.

 

Battalion 51 was one of the last to leave the Gaza Strip as part of the disengagement plan, following extraordinary operational accomplishments. Ami Shaked, who served as Gush Katif's security coordinator, on Wednesday night recalled the battalion's operation.

 

"I remember how they prevented the infiltration of terrorists into Ganei Tal. Their only advantage over other units was that as far as they were concerned, they had no limited area and they were with us in every incident," he said.

 

"They arrived in Tel Katifa for a battle, although it was not in their area, and they arrived at the Mor bridge in one of the terror attacks although it was not their duty. They just arrived at any place we needed them to be at, it was amazing," Shaked told Ynet.

 

The battalion also nurtured a series of excellent officers who moved to elite units. The battalion's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Asor, was also supposed to begin his duty in an elite unit several days ago, but stayed with his soldiers following the events and even took part in the bitter fighting in Bint Jbeil.

 

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