INSIDE THE IDF: 17 minutes in Beit Hanoun: Battalion 931’s bloody battle in Gaza
17 minutes in Beit Hanoun: Battalion 931’s bloody battle in Gaza
One year ago during Protective Edge, a force from the Nahal Brigade came under heavy Hamas fire; it was outnumbered and lost two fighters, with many others wounded, but the troops came out on top, killing 15 terrorists.
They began the battle greatly outnumbered, lost two fighters with many more wounded – but Battalion 931 of the Nahal Brigade refused to surrender. A year after the brave battle in Beit Hanoun, the battalion’s commanders came together to listen to the recordings of the radio communications from that day, for the first time since living it.
A ground force of 16 fighters, including two dog handlers from the Oketz Unit and a team of engineering troops from the Yahalom unit, entered Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip in the late night hours of July 25, 2014.
The force from the 931 Battalion, under the command of Major Gilad Pasternak, was preparing for an attack in a built-up area, without knowing that a much larger Hamas force was readying a strike against it.
An anti-tank missile surprised the IDF troops. Yahalom fighter Staff Sgt. Gal Basson was killed on the spot, and many were wounded all around him.
“A mass casualty incident,” was broadcasted on the radio. “We’re extracting the wounded back with tanks. Must have a helicopter.”
“Hamas’ attack begins with anti-tank missiles. I fly back with the entire force, get up and under me I see a lot of wounded,” Maj. Pasternak recounted, one year after the war. “Soldiers are shouting, but I realize they can’t get up. Shooting starts, and we’re pelted with grenades.”
Then, the officer said, face-to-face combat began, against a Hamas force which was increasing its firepower in an attempt to kidnap a soldier.
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