Soldiers 'fought like lions' during Gaza op

Givati and Armored Corps brigades honor their soldiers for Operation Hot Winter.

As rumors swirled as to whether the IDF planned to initiate another limited-scale operation in Gaza this week, commanders of the Givati Infantry Brigade and the Armored Corps' 188th Brigade complimented their soldiers on displaying a "fighting spirit" in the operations earlier this week. "They fought like lions," said Givati Brigade commander Col. Malka after his troops concluded their two-and-a-half day Operation Hot Winter in northern Gaza. One of the most impressive instances was that of a platoon commander in the Shaked Battalion, who, together with his troops, was pinned down in a courtyard by a Palestinian throwing grenades out of a window. The troops' progress was halted as a number of soldiers were wounded by shrapnel, but the junior officer refused to accept defeat. Charging forward alone, the officer stormed to the window to neutralize the grenade-thrower. Wounded by shrapnel, he continued forward and threw a grenade with deadly accuracy, killing the operative and allowing his troops to continue forward. In another case, a machine-gunner was shot through his arm in the early hours of the operation, as troops faced heavy fire from Palestinian opposition. Concerned that his medical evacuation could hold back his comrades from Givati's reconnaissance battalion, after being checked by a paramedic and bandaged he continued to carry out the mission and charge forward together with his unit, even though his wounded arm prohibited him from firing his weapon. A second soldier broke his leg during the operation, but remained in the field for almost 24 hours before being evacuated, also because he said that he did not want to waste time and resources on his evacuation. But the infantrymen were not the only ones cited for their bravery during the battles. A tank corps commander noted that his troops took heavy fire from anti-tank weapons, and although many of the tanks suffered repeated hits from the RPGs and homemade rockets, all of the tank crews continued to carry out their mission, and all of the vehicles were returned safely at the end of the two-and-a-half day operation.