Is­rael in tears over sol­dier who was ab­ducted — then wasn’t

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

FOR LONG hours on Fri­day, the IDF be­lieved Ha­mas may have suc­ceeded in cap­tur­ing Lieu­tenant Hadar Goldin and spir­it­ing him away through a tun­nel to Rafah in the south­ern Gaza Strip.

In an at­tempt to pre­vent his cap­ture, the IDF ac­ti­vated the Han­ni­bal Di­rec­tive — a planned re­sponse to a pos­si­ble kid­nap — and launched a mas­sive bom­bard­ment of the area, in which dozens of Pales­tinian civil­ians were killed.

It took over 24 hours for the IDF to re­cover suf­fi­cient foren­sic ev­i­dence that proved Lt Goldin had been killed in the ini­tial Ha­mas at­tack.

The in­ci­dent took place af­ter 9am on Fri­day morn­ing, over an hour af­ter a UN-bro­kered cease­fire — which was sup­posed to last for at least 72 hours — had gone into ef­fect. Ha­mas fight­ers am­bushed a group of soldiers from the Re­con­nais­sance Com­pany of the Gi­vati Bri­gade near Rafah. The com­pany com­man­der, Ma­jor Be­naya Sarel, and First Sergeant Liel Gideoni, were killed in the at­tack. Lt. Goldin, who was also fa­tally wounded, was taken from the bat­tle­field into a nearby Ha­mas tun­nel. A group of Gi­vati chased af­ter them into the tun­nel and man­aged to re­trieve some of Lt. Goldin’s per­sonal ef­fects.

The Han­ni­bal Di­rec­tive was then put into ac­tion. The di­rec­tive, first drafted in 1986, or­ders IDF soldiers to fire at a ve­hi­cle in which a sol­dier may be held to pre­vent it get­ting away, even if this en­dan­gers the sol­dier’s life.

In this case, the di­rec­tive was in­ter­preted to the max­i­mum and huge bar­rages of fire were di­rected at po­ten­tial es­cape routes and hid­ing places around Rafah. Pales­tinian sources ini­tially re­ported that around 40 civil­ians had been killed, later putting out fig­ures as high as 130 dead. The IDF is in­ves­ti­gat­ing these claims.

The Ha­mas at­tack brought the cease­fire to an abrupt end. Ha­mas sources in­clud­ing their deputy po­lit­i­cal chief, Mussa Abu Mar­zouk, ini­tially claimed they were hold­ing an Is­raeli of­fi­cer, but quickly back­tracked once the diplomatic back­lash be­came ev­i­dent and claimed that they had at­tacked be­fore the cease­fire came into ef­fect. Later. Ha­mas claimed to have “lost con­tact” with its fight­ers in the area.

The Goldin fam­ily was in­formed on Fri­day that their son was miss­ing. Over the next 24 hours, IDF foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors used DNA se­quenc­ing to iden­tify re­mains from the bat­tle­field as those of Lt Goldin. They reached the con­clu­sion that he could not have sur­vived his wounds.

As soon as Shab­bat ended, a spe­cial IDF Bet Din pro­nounced the 23-yearold of­fi­cer dead. On Sun­day, 10,000 peo­ple joined the funeral pro­ces­sion and Lt. Goldin was laid to rest in Kfar Saba’s mil­i­tary cemetery, across the road from his fam­ily’s home.

Hadar Goldin, killed on Fri­day

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