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Salman Goes Out to Win



"Load the tanks onto the trucks, now!" Salman Habka, commander of the 53rd Armoured Division barrelled south in his car. The sudden attack in the south of the country was at its peak and Salman lived far away, in the Druze village of Yanukh Jat in the Galilee. "Don't wait for me, just get going. The residents of the Gaza Envelope need immediate help."

During the drive, he planned the battle in his mine and decided to split the forces into teams of two tanks per settlement, so that they could reach and assist the maximum number of centers.

"53 station commander speaking", Salman addressed his entire battalion on the radio. "When the fighting soldiers hear the noise of the tank treads, it gives them strength. They know there's strong backup from us. For the residents trapped in their homes, waiting to be rescued, the sound of the tanks tells them we're on the way to save them."

Salman finally linked up with his tank squad and went into battle, on the way to Be'eri. He had never imagined that he would need to drive a tank along the paths of a kibbutz – and fire on homes! – but the terrorists were hiding inside and there was no choice. Salman was in command and his tank squad began firing. Together, they managed to decimate the enemy, gain back control of the kibbutz and save many, many residents.

The battle ended, but the war had just begun. 53rd Division entered Gaza and their commander Salman was in confident command, leading them. "Now, we're preparing ourselves to smash the enemy", he told his soldiers. "I expect you, and all of Am Yisrael, to continue to be united and resilient, because only together can we win."

One night, Salman heard on the army radio that Golani troops were caught in a hard firefight with numerous terrorists and that some of their vehicles had been hit. "Golani forces need evacuation! Who's coming with me?" he asked, and immediately headed towards them. "There's a big mess there, make sure we aren't firing on IDF troops!" The evacuation was completed successfully, but just then a rocket was fired on the tank and Salman was killed. The brave commander of 53rd Division did exactly what he had always taught his soldiers, and sacrificed his own life for soldiers he didn't even know, out of a total conviction that only by working together would we be able to achieve victory.



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