IDF reveals the identity of officer killed in 2018 raid in Khan Younis

Named as Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Kheir El-Din from the Druze town of Hurfeish.

 Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Khir al-Din (photo credit: Family)
Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Khir al-Din
(photo credit: Family)

The IDF cleared for release the identity of the elite officer who was killed in a firefight in Gaza in 2018.

The officer was identified as Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Kheir al-Din from the Druze town of Hurfeish in the North. He was married to Nahad and the father of two sons.

He enlisted into the Paratroopers Reconnaissance Battalion in 1997 and served as a soldier, officer and commander in the Military Intelligence’s Special Operations unit since 2002.

“He was a hero of Israel,” said the Commander of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva on Saturday night and said that “after the many operations that he took part in, he deserves to get the respect and honor that suits him.”

Haliva said that the military spoke with his family before revealing his identity and that there was no concern regarding the security of any operations.

 Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Khir al-Din (credit: Family) Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Khir al-Din (credit: Family)

“There is a whole set of considerations and sensitivity regarding the other members of the operation, but it was decided that his name and pictures could be published,” Haliva said, adding that he would not go into details regarding the operation.

Din was killed on November 11th, 2018, by friendly fire during a firefight with Hamas gunmen while carrying out a lengthy special operation in the Gaza Strip.

His team was identified by Hamas members, leading to a firefight in which Din was killed and another officer was moderately injured. Six Hamas terrorists, including the Khan Younis commander Nur Barakeh, were also killed in the firefight.

According to the investigation, the exchange of fire between Hamas and the IDF Force lasted about a minute and a half.

All bullets were fired by the IDF. Din was killed by a stray bullet fired by a team member.

While the IDF has not commented in-depth regarding the operation, the military has said that the purpose of the special forces operation was not to kill or kidnap and that the troops were exposed while they “carried out a lengthy operation.”

In a televised news conference following the incident Abu Obaida, the spokesman for the Hamas’s Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, said that the Israeli commandos had infiltrated into Gaza under the cover of fog, planning to install equipment to wiretap Hamas’s communications networks.

Another commando entered Gaza through a border crossing, under the pretense of working with an international charity operating in the Strip, the group said.

 Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Khir al-Din (credit: Family) Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Khir al-Din (credit: Family)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi awarded him a citation of merit for his actions during the operation, saying that they had been crucial to the complicated rescue operation and that his decisions stopped the situation from deteriorating even further.

“This was a remarkable case of outstanding heroism,” Kohavi said at the time. “I knew him from the days when he was a young officer in the Paratroopers Brigade. Alongside his many skills, he was a humble man, a man of truth, a man who knew that what you saw was what there was.”