Netzah Yehuda Battalion rescues civilians stranded by floods

IDF forces were mobilized to rescue Palestinian civilians stranded by rising floodwaters near Nablus this week 

Date: 01/10/2013, 2:42 PM     Author: Yael Livnat

In the heart of the storm bearing down on Israel this week, soldiers of the Kfir Brigade's Netzah Yehuda Battalion were called to the Alexander River near Nablus on Tuesday, following a report that a number of Palestinian civilians were caught in the river's floodwaters and were in danger of drowning. The Netzah Yehuda force rescued the three civilians, who then received medical treatment.

"Yesterday around 7:00 p.m., we received a call that there were people stuck in the river's floodwaters. When we reached the site, we saw a number of people stranded in vehicles, including children," said the commander of the supporting company that arrived at the site, Cpt. Adiya Hazani. "We tried to pull them out on foot, but we didn't succeed since they were far from the vehicles and the river had reached a depth of two meters and was rising," he recounted.

With the assistance of a Palestinian civilian at the scene who allowed the force to use his tractor, the soldiers successfully rescued the stranded civilians. "We went in and saw that one car was empty and we carried out a search to verify that nobody had drowned. In other cars there were three people, whom we rescued," Cpt. Hazani said.

The commander recounted that when he and dozens of his soldiers reached the site, the stranded civilians were standing on the roofs of their cars and were in real danger of drowning. "We took them one at a time, together with the Palestinian tractor operator, and they were all frightened," he said. The rescued civilians then received treatment from a medical team of the Menashe Regional Brigade who arrived at the scene.

"I understood that these were people whose lives were in real danger, and I saw that the river's flow was rising and that just minutes would make the difference between life and death," Cpt. Hazani explained. "We took a risk because we were a small number of people under very harsh weather conditions, but there was no other option."

Due to the stormy weather, the forces were also called to other missions, including one in which they rescued a disabled Palestinian civilian who had been stranded in a car and another incident in which they rescued a bus carrying 30 children that was caught in the floodwaters.