Jews around the world were davening for the safe return of an IDF officer in the Givati Brigade, Hadar Goldin, 23, of Kfar Saba, who was kidnapped on Friday morning by Hamas terrorists. Motzoei Shabbos his death was confirmed, Hy”d.
Hadar was in the area with several soldiers to search for reported tunnel shafts located on the fringe of the southern Gaza city, Rafiach, located at the Egypt border.
From the first minutes after the abduction, when it was clear that a soldier was missing, the IDF used the “Hannibal Procedure.” This procedure is a secret directive of the IDF, aimed at preventing soldiers from being captured by enemy forces in the course of combat.
The order, drawn up in 1986 by a group of top IDF officers, states that at the time of a kidnapping the main mission becomes forcing the release of the abducted soldiers from their kidnappers, even if it means causing injury to the soldiers.
For the next few hours the IDF continued many scans using multi-fire from the air and ground, designed to help soldiers searching for the kidnappers and close in on them from all sides.
Large forces were diverted, including artillery, armor and air forces, firing at any movement taking place within the area. Palestinian reports said that about 150 people were killed and hundreds of others wounded during the IDF’s searches.
The abduction occurred at 9:16 a.m. Friday morning. A Hamas terrorist wearing an explosives vest emerged from a nearby tunnel, and before the troops managed to shoot him, blew himself up. Sayeret Givati Major Benayah Sarel, 26, of Kiryat Arba, and Sgt. Liel Gidoni, 20, from Jerusalem, were killed instantly, Hy”d. The third member of this group was Hadar Goldin.
Heavy battles began when terrorists emerged from another tunnel, and during the exchange of fire Hamas terrorists managed to escape with Hadar Goldin, who at the time was apparently alive and able to move, bring him into a tunnel that led to a nearby mosque. This was subsequently bombed from the air so that the IDF could look for other tunnels and shafts below, which were not found.
IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Moti Almoz, said that IDF forces found more shafts during the continued operation. “What’s more important than actually finding the tunnel is finding the shafts leading to and from it; that’s what we have been doing the last two weeks,” Almoz said. “The motivation of the troops is high – everyone understands the goal. We are working overtime to continue our mission and bring quiet to the residents.”
Almoz also discussed the possibility of expanding the operation in response to the kidnapping and said that “when it comes to expanding activities, there are many options on the table.”
Throughout Shabbos, tefillos were held around the country and around the world for the safe return of Hadar ben Chedvah Leah.
After all investigations were completed, the army transferred items found in the tunnel belonging to the soldier to the military chaplaincy, which set up a court of three rabbis. They reviewed all the findings, consulted with experts, including doctors, and concluded with certainty that the soldier was dead, Hy”d. The family was informed Motzoei Shabbos after midnight. The kidnapped soldier is a cousin of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.