Forged in fire: Israel's defenders stand unyielding in face of death

Unprepared and often outnumbered, these soldiers and officers confronted Hamas terrorists head-on, with some making the ultimate sacrifice

Yoav Zitun|
IDF forces continue fighting inside Israeli territory in attempts to cleanse the Gaza border communities of Hamas terrorists who infiltrated them in the surprise attack on Saturday. As time passes, the extent of the disaster that befell the residents becomes clear, as are the actions of the soldiers and commanders of the security forces. The stories of their heroism are being told as the bloody fighting, which has entered its third day, continues.
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Shlomo Boimester, in his 70s, serves as a reserve front-line officer in the Gaza Division during emergencies. He was rushed into the Re'im base while carrying his personal weapon, and on his way there he encountered terrorists and eliminated them. Boimester was wounded by shrapnel during the exchange, and despite his injury continues to function now in the division's war room.
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רכב של מחבלים בשדרות
רכב של מחבלים בשדרות
Hamas terrorists' pickup truck
(Photo: Oren ZIV / AFP)
Second Lieutenant A., an assistant information security officer, serves as an officer without combat training. When the surprise attack by Hamas began, he happened to be on duty at the Re'im base located near Kibbutz Re'im. A. fought against the terrorists, eliminated several of them and managed to thwart several events at the point where he operated.
The commander of the Rescue and Training Brigade of the Home Front Command, Col. Elad Edri, left the Home Front Training Base in Zikim during Shabbat to fight together with his subordinates against the Hamas terrorists who had infiltrated Israel. For many hours they fought in an effort to thwart the terrorists in the area and protect the communities around Gaza.
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אל"מ אדרי עם תמונת החלל
אל"מ אדרי עם תמונת החלל
Col. Edri with picture of fallen soldier
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The commander of the Shahar battalion in the rescue brigade, Lt. Col. Yarden Shukron, was sent to the Urim base along with several of her soldiers following reports of four terrorists roaming the base. During the fighting, Shukron killed three of the terrorists inside the base, and her soldiers managed to thwart the fourth terrorist.
A force of eight soldiers from Battalion 931 in the Nahal Brigade, under the command of Capt. Tal Grushka, fought against many terrorists in Sderot. During the operation, the force was attacked several times by armed men who were in the area and returned fire. Grushka was hit in the shoulder and, despite his injury, the force continued the attack and managed to neutralize some of the terrorists on the spot. At the end of the battle, the commander was taken to the hospital, but there the medical teams had to pronounce him dead.
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חייל מתפלל על טנק
חייל מתפלל על טנק
Soldier praying on tank
(Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
An engineering officer in the Gaza Division, Lt. Col. Y., acted in several encounters with terrorists in the "Re'im" camp. He was wounded by a bullet to his leg, and continued to fight for long hours in order to eliminate the terrorists.
During Shabbat, a force from the Caracal Battalion under the command of battalion commander, Lt. Col. Or Ben Yehuda, managed to capture 15 armed terrorists in Moshav Yad in the Shalom region. After many hours of intense fighting, the terrorists surrendered. They are now being held in Israel and have been handed over to the Shin Bet for investigation.
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