Last Saturday, during the first hours of the surprise terror attack by Hamas in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Lt. Col. D., the commander of the special forces Duvdevan unit, arrived at the home of a kibbutz resident. He managed, under heavy fire, to safely rescue her from the location, while dozens of armed terrorists were still rampaging outside.
The woman's daughter, who had special needs, was inside a nearby building. She implored D. to rescue her daughter as well and begged him to do so with utmost care to prevent any harm to her daughter's fragile mental state. Her concern was that the sight of the lifeless bodies in the courtyard, the ruins and the relentless fire from neighboring homes might cause irreparable emotional damage to her daughter. Despite the significant risks and delays involved, D. heeded her plea.
Lt. Col. D. orchestrated a convoy of armored vehicles at the entrance of the house where the daughter had taken refuge, establishing a secure staging area for the challenging operation ahead. Inside the building, he carefully extracted the rescued woman, shielding her from the harrowing scenes. While his fellow soldiers took defensive positions and the fortified vehicles formed a protective double line at the entrance to the liberated structure.
D., one of the most valiant combat officers in the IDF, who also lighted a torch on the last Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl, shared in a special interview with Ynet and its sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth that the extraction of the daughter with special needs was "the most complex and sensitive moment" for him.
D. arrived at Kibbutz Kfar Aza around 8am last Saturday with his elite unit, numbering about 30 troops. They fought relentlessly until Monday evening, approximately 60 hours without a single break or respite. In these intense battles between the kibbutz homes, a location well-known to D. since he had previously commanded operations there two years ago.
His unit suffered 20 casualties, as D. personally rescued five of the injured soldiers under fire, some of whom were high-ranking officers in the unit. One of the wounded soldiers, who fortunately survived, had his throat slit by the tail of a shoulder-fired missile that nearly missed him.
As the battles drew to a close, and Kibbutz Kfar Aza was finally liberated by D. and his Duvdevan unit, he received a phone call from the unit's adjutant, who said, "Five of the casualties you rescued earlier did not make it, and congratulations." D. expressed his frustration at her statement, which she hurriedly clarified, "During the fighting, your wife gave birth to a healthy daughter."
D. is one of the most highly regarded and accomplished field officers in the IDF, a daring but astute leader who, over the past two years, has faced and eliminated hundreds of terrorists, alongside his soldiers, in Nablus and Jenin. On that grim Saturday in Kfar Aza, he managed to eliminate 20 terrorists, defying his own disability.
He lost his eye within the Gaza Strip during a challenging battle during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. On Tuesday, he handed over the responsibility for Kfar Aza to another unit to prepare and train for the approaching ground offensive within the Gaza Strip.
"Hamas will be just a memory, nothing more. No one there will lament what they did to us. I promise, along with the soldiers of Duvdevan, to turn Hamas into a footnote in history, to say there was once a terror organization called Hamas. We will do this for the sake of our country and our people," he declared.