IDF Paratrooper David Markovitz, who was recruited to the army only eight months ago, became a hero Monday when he killed four Hizbullah terrorists who attempted to abduct a soldier near the border village of Rajar.
Lieutenant Colonel Yaniv Elaluf, commander of the 202 paratroop regiment, told Ynet he tried to reach Markovitz on the phone to tell him how proud he is.
"This is exactly how I expect a troop in the paratroop division to act, and he should be congratulated," he said.
Hizbullah motorcycle (Photo: IDF Spokesman's Office)
Markovitz joined the army in the framework of the Hedser Yeshiva program in March 2005. He resides in the community of Gamzo, and will celebrate his 21st birthday next week.
The incident took place Monday during an ambush near the border crossing in the village of Rajar, which is located on the border between Israel and Lebanon.
"The soldiers spotted four terrorists dressed in black, and moving in an orderly fashion toward the roadblock. Behind them the soldiers noticed jeeps and motorcycles - logistic support for the abduction operation," Elaluf recounted.
"The group was carrying an antitank missile, which was ready to be launched. They approached the force and at a distance of about 40 meters from the force, soldiers opened fire before the terrorists had a chance to respond," he said.
IDF troops at the scene (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
Markovitz, who was the force's marksman, "calmly conducted precise shooting. He shot, diverted the weapon, and hit all four men. The missile they were carrying blew up. Three were killed immediately, and the fourth terrorist fell on the ground, crawled for a short time and then died as well," Elaluf described.
'Remained calm under fire'
The precise shooting by the young marksman, Elaluf said, was what thwarted Hizbullah's plan. The four men were armed from head to tow, and had they been able to get closer to the soldiers, they could have easily abducted one of them.
"The force functioned extraordinarily. After the terrorists were killed, fire was opened from every direction, as well as mortar shells. The company commander and his signaler, who were stationed at the nearby post were wounded, and the level
of alert remained high," Elaluf said.
According to Elaluf, Markovitz has only joined the regiment about a month ago with his fellow squad members, and was stationed along the volatile northern border.
"This was definitely an exceptional accomplishment for a soldier who was trained as a marksman, but all the other troops there operated extraordinarily, and prevented the Hizbullah sought-for attack. They were well prepared and did what was expected of them in an outstanding manner," he said.
A senior IDF officer told Ynet that army sources estimate the Hizbullah strikes in northern Israel were not planned, but came as a response to the failure to abduct a soldier.
"They were put under pressure because of this fiasco and the desire to release their men's bodies. They wanted to accomplish something to cover up for their failure," he added.