Female Caracal Battalion combatant received a special commendation from GOC Southern Command Major-General Tal Russo on Tuesday for killing a terrorist who infiltrated the southern border in September.
The soldier is the 20th woman in the IDF's history to receive a special commendation for bravery. The incident for which Corporal S. received the citation claimed the life of IDF Corporal Netanel Yahalomi.
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The soldier spoke at the ceremony, saying: "I don’t feel like a hero; this commendation belongs to the entire battalion, to everyone that was present at the incident and to those who are still guarding the border. We're proud, but also mourn Netanel's death. He is the true hero."
Corporal S., a combat soldier with the Infantry Corps' Caracal Battalion, discussed the incident in which a terrorist cell infiltrated Israel from the Egyptian border: "As soon as I got the call on the radio – 'We're being shot at' – I returned to the scene with the Hummer commander. I always respond to calls whether they are about infiltrators or something else.
'We're proud, but also mourn Netanel's death' S. at the ceremony (Photo: Roee Idan)
"At first, I didn’t really understand where we were going, since it was the battalion's first clash," she recounted. "All the training we went through and the battalion commander's instructions proved themselves at those moments. We came closer and then I saw Netanel lying there, lifeless. Then the Hummer was shot at. At that moment ... there was no time to hesitate. All you want is for everything to end well."
As for the moment she shot the terrorist, S. noted: "After seeing Netanel, I ran towards the site where the shooting was coming from. Then I noticed one of the terrorists engaged with his midriff and I was afraid he was trying to set off explosives placed on him, so I chose not to shoot at that direction. I picked up my weapon and shot twice at his head.
"Then I approached the soldier who sustained moderated injuries and told him 'hang in there; you're a hero. You were shot in your stomach and the rescue forces will be here soon.'"
Staff sergeant (Res.) David Avitzur, who commanded the platoon and charged at the terrorists alongside S., also received a citation at the ceremony, which took place at the IDF's Gaza Division headquarters. Avitzur said that it was S. who told him to stop after the first explosive device went off, for fear that other explosions were to follow.
According to the IDF's inquest into the incident, the terrorist, who was wearing an explosive vest, started running towards the troops, with the intent to detonate his explosives as soon as he was near them.
S. fired one accurate shot that set off the explosives as the terrorist was still far from any of her comrades.
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