Thursday’s attack was designed to be an act of war — well beyond the more routine rocket attacks. This report illustrates the coordinated assault that Israeli forces faced more fully than prior coverage. “IDF officer: Terrorists planned an abduction attack,” by Yaakov Katz for the Jerusalem Post, August 21:
The terrorists who infiltrated Israel on Thursday and carried out the attacks near Eilat were heavily armed, wore suicide bomb belts and came with handcuffs, an indication they planned to abduct a soldier, deputy commander of the Sagi Brigade along the Egyptian border said on Saturday.
They hoped to follow Hamas in its abduction of Gilad Shalit (still a prisoner after 5 years), and Hizballah in their capture of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose bodies were later swapped for release of the murderer Samir Kuntar.
“We prevented a major abduction attack,” Lt.-Col. Liran Hajbi, deputy commander of the Edom Division’s Sagi Brigade, which is responsible for the Egyptian border, said on Saturday. “They came heavily armed, with suicide bomb belts, grenades, and handcuffs.”
According to Hajbi, the terrorists were split into a number of cells, mostly deployed along the border and still inside Egypt.
Three terrorists who crossed into Israel were killed by soldiers from the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion and another five were killed in subsequent gunfights with the police’s Yamam Counterterrorism Unit.
“We were well-prepared,” he said. “While the beginning was bad with the murder of the civilians, the way the soldiers operated when they arrived on the scene prevented a more difficult outcome.”
Maj. Ro”i Yonatan, commander of the Golani Brigade’s Orev company, which was the first to arrive at the scene, said his soldiers acted courageously when driving straight into the line of fire and running over one of the terrorists.
“The soldiers then drove to the other end of the road, blocked it so Israeli cars would not approach and returned to draw the fire away from civilians,” Yonatan said.
He said St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali — the soldier who was killed on Thursday, was shot when he and additional soldiers exited the jeep to begin engaging the terrorists deployed along the border.
“They were coming under fire from three different directions and they saw one of the terrorists throw a grenade at them,” Yonatan said. “They stopped the jeep, got out and Moshe got hit.”