Caracal Battalion helped thwart Friday's attempted terror attack

The co-ed infantry battalion, stationed along the Egyptian border, again proved itself a valuable asset to Israel's security

Date: 23/09/2012, 3:01 PM     Author: Hadas Duvdevani

The Caracal Battalion played a decisive role in the outcome of Friday's (September 21) firefight on the Egyptian border. When terrorists attacked IDF soldiers near the border, a force belonging to this battalion was located near the scene of the incident. This force's Sergeant led its soldiers to the scene of the attack, identified the enemy, and confronted the terrorists.

Among the soldiers in this Caracal force was a markswoman who rushed forward and struck one of the terrorists. Her actions resulted in the deaths of two of the three terrorists and the explosion of the explosive belt that one of the terrorists was wearing. (The third terrorist was killed by the IAF.)

GOC Southern Command praised the soldiers of the Artillery Corps and the Caracal Battalion for their determination and their actions during the incident. Additionally, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai stated that "according to findings from the field, it is clear that the force managed to thwart a large-scale attack that was intended to hurt Israeli civilians."

This was not the first time that the Caracal Battalion took part in thwarting an attack; its soldiers have taken part in operational activity in the zone near the Egyptian border for a number of years. In the past, the unit has worked to stop drug smuggling, infiltration attempts, terrorist attacks, and other illegal activities. As a result, the Battalion is very experienced and familiar with the terrain.

The mixed-gender Caracal Battalion consists of soldiers who have completed Level 07 weapons training. It began as a co-ed company, in response to many women's desire to serve as combat soldiers. In 2004, it became a battalion, and in late 2011 it held its first brigade-wide exercise. Today, roughly 60 percent of the unit's soldiers are women.

The Caracal Battalion was first stationed in the Arava region, near the Jordanian-Israeli border, but it was later moved to the zone along the Egyptian-Israeli border. In its new home, its activities are becoming increasingly important, as shown by Friday's incident.

"Ultimately, the [Israeli-Egyptian] border is a border of peace, but many incidents occur there," the Battalion's previous commander, Lt. Col. Tzur Harpaz, said in the past. "Therefore, a battalion that is familiar with the sector; that is knowledgeable; that understands its profession, how to be in the region; and that has been there for many years – this is of great importance."