Recordings Released of Dramatic Moments Following Kidnap of Israeli Soldier Hadar Goldin During Protective Edge
Almost one year since Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer, the Israel Defense Forces have released audio excerpts from communications between soldiers and commanders in the moments following the abduction and killing of Lt. Hadar Goldin, Israeli Channel 2 news reported on Tuesday.
Goldin, an officer in the IDF’s Givati Brigade, was killed by Hamas terrorists during the 50-day conflict between Israel and the terror group. He was 23 years old at the time of his death.
The incident occurred less than two hours into a 72-hour ceasefire between the two sides. Goldin and a group of other IDF soldiers were ambushed from a Hamas tunnel in a rural area near Rafah.
Two other soldiers close to Goldin, Benaya Sarel and Liel Gidoni, were immediately killed in the attack by a Hamas suicide bomber who had been hiding in the tunnel.
In the recording from the immediate aftermath the incident, Lt. Col. Eli Gino, the commander of the elite Gadsar Battalion, is heard calling for assistance to evacuate the soldiers, whom Gino initially presumed were wounded.
“We have flowers,” he said, using IDF code for injured soldiers. “I’ll soon update how … we have flowers, send in a rescue force if you can, and make it soon.”
Soon after, an update on the damage was conveyed. Referring to the suicide bomber who killed Sarel and Gidoni, communications officer Maj. Nadav Danino said, “We know of one ‘dirty one'” – another IDF codeword, meaning “terrorist” – that “committed suicide, and right now he is ‘oleander,'” or dead.
“We know of one more dirty one that the forces are still in contact with, and also two more flowers for our forces; at the moment, the condition of our flowers is unclear to us,” Danino said.
Goldin, meanwhile, was seized by Hamas gunmen who exited the tunnel. It was later learned that he was likely killed immediately, but in the initial aftermath of the attack, he was thought to have been kidnapped alive.
At this point, Brigade Commander Col. Ofer Winter entered the communication. “I see there are tunnel openings,” he said. “Try to neutralize them as soon as you can.” Winter also warned that, “the entire area is full of underground tunnels.”
“One of the flowers is not in communication with us at the moment,” Danino responded, referring to Goldin. “[A]pparently [he] is in the entrance of the shaft.”
A few seconds later, Danino added, “We announced Hannibal. We can’t find one of the flowers, at the moment we’re trying to reach one of the shaft entrances.”
The officer was referring to the IDF’s so-called Hannibal Protocol, a set army directive declaring the capture of an Israeli soldier by enemy forces during combat. The controversial protocol reportedly allows commanders to take extreme measures, including endangering the life of the captured soldier, to foil the kidnap.
The announcement of one of the IDF’s more dramatic directives resulted in heavy shelling of the area in which Goldin was suspected to have been kidnapped.
“Sir, Hannibal has been declared,” Brigade Commander Winter said, and then added directions to the soldiers on the ground, “Forward, start, work on it, forward, make an effort to get over there. Over. As quickly as possible!”
Other soldiers then reached the scene and tried to chase down Goldin’s kidnappers. Within a few minutes, Gino gave an update from the area of the tunnel shaft. “At the moment, [Goldin is] not in our hands. The force is intact. We are currently securing the area. We are preparing the entrance and readying to enter it.”
Gino then reported on the failure of the IDF’s soldiers to halt Goldin’s abductors. “We have moved forward into the tunnel. We have another force entering to call for them. We currently cannot capture them. They still haven’t exited, I’m currently shouting inside and hoping they’ll exit.”
Shortly after, one of the soldiers returned from the tunnel with physical evidence that Goldin had been killed.