An Israeli commander told the Jerusalem Post that her battalion, made up of mostly female soldiers, killed around 100 Hamas militants during the terrorist attacks on October 7.
The unit opened its ranks to women in May 2022, following an appeal to the country’s top court. In November 2020, four female recruits appealed to the High Court of Justice, demanding full gender integration in the IDF, including in elite units such
Israeli Caracal commander Lt.-Col. Or Ben-Yehuda told the outlet the women “emerged as heroes” for their actions near the Gaza Strip.
On the morning of October 7, Ben-Yehuda said she received a message reporting an infiltration of heavily armed militants near the kibbutzim of Sufa and Nirim.
Not yet knowing the extent of the attacks, she told her soldiers: “Stay alert. We might cross paths. We are a strong squad,” according to the report.
Upon arrival in the Sufa kibbutz, Ben-Yehuda said she saw how big the Hamas infiltration was.
“We are going out to eliminate terrorists. Infiltration into Israel is happening, and it’s spreading,” she told her battalion, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Combat between the battalion and the militants lasted nearly four hours, she said. It took the Caracal battalion about 14 hours to secure the base alongside other units, the outlet said.
The Caracal Battalion, which is tasked with protecting Israel’s border, is one of three mixed-gender combat units.
Ben-Yehuda added that her battalion is now “preparing for any potential ground maneuvers to ensure the safety of the southern Gaza border area and the Egyptian border.”
Israel is one of only a few countries where military service is compulsory for women. In the IDF, they serve a variety of roles, including in elite search and rescue and combat engineering units.
During its surprise terrorist attacks, Hamas militants took more than 200 people hostage and left more than 1,500 Israelis and foreign nationals dead, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has since responded with relentless airstrikes on Gaza, which Palestinian officials say have killed at least 10,000 people at the time of writing.
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