Photo Credit: IDF
8 Golani soldiers were killed in the kasbah of the Shuja'iyya in northern Gaza, December 13, 2023.

A Golani Brigade combat team set out to search buildings in the Kasbah of the Shuja’iyya neighborhood, a dense area in northern Gaza. Fire opened on the fighters from one of the houses, and an explosive device was set off by Hamas terrorists. The force returned fire, and when the soldiers took battle positions, the force split in two. In the effort to rescue the trapped soldiers who were under heavy fire, another force arrived and entered the building, where an explosive charge was activated, followed by another, causing the death of ten soldiers and officers, including the commander of the 13th Battalion.

Today’s casualties bring the number of IDF soldiers killed since October 7 to 442.


According to an IDF investigation, four fighters were injured in the initial encounter in Shuja’iyya inside a compound that comprised a destroyed building and a yard from which the terrorists shot and threw grenades at the IDF force. The remaining Golani force declared a “disengagement” since they did not know the condition of the fighters who were injured inside the compound. The forces found an underground shaft in the same compound.

The commander of Golani’s 13th Battalion surrounded the scene of the incident with fighters and was hit by gunfire or shrapnel as were two other commanders who were killed. A fighter from the 669 Unit was killed while trying to enter the compound when he tried to break the door and was hit by an explosive device. Another fighter from 669 was killed by explosives and gunfire from inside the compound. Sayeret Golani fighters entered the building after opening a hole in the wall with a missile and found the bodies of the four fighters who were killed in the initial encounter.

The commander of Sayeret Golani and the deputy division commander arrived on the scene to help prevent incidents of friendly fire.

The battle lasted about three hours, starting around 4:00 PM on Tuesday.

The fallen are the commander of the 13th Battalion, Lt. Col. Tomer Greenberg; the commander of a company in the battalion, Major Roy Meldasi; the Squad Commander in the 51st Battalion, Major Moshe Avraham Bar-On; a fighter in the 51st Battalion, Sergeant Ahia Daskel; Platoon Commander in the 51st Battalion, Capt. Liel Haiu; Company Commander in Unit 669, Major Ben Sheli; and a fighter in 669, First Seargent Rom Hecht.

The Golani Brigade and Shuja’iyya have a long history. The Battle of Shuja’iyya took place between the IDF and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades on July 19 and 20, 2014. Shuja’iyya, with 92,000 residents in a 6 square kilometer area, was one of the most densely populated areas in Gaza. According to the IDF, it had become a “terrorist fortress” that between July 8 and 20 had fired more than 140 rockets into Israel after the outbreak of hostilities.

The assault on Shuja’iyya, involving a combination of infantry, F-16 warplanes, tanks, and mortar fire, began at 11 PM on Saturday, July 19. The attack led by the Golani Brigade encountered little resistance initially, until later at night Hamas units emerged from their tunnels to engage and put up stiff resistance, surprising the Israelis with their tenacity and effectiveness in taking on armored vehicles. According to Israeli sources, the IDF used heavy aerial bombardment and artillery fire, in what was described as a “risky and unusual step to save Israeli soldiers’ lives.”

On Sunday, July 20, the IDF confirmed that 13 soldiers had been killed and 56 wounded in the battle. Seven of the soldiers were killed when their armored vehicle was hit by an anti-tank rocket, three were killed in clashes with the terrorists, and three were killed by an anti-tank missile fired at a building where soldiers were setting up a makeshift command center. In the following 24 hours, three additional soldiers were killed in Shuja’iyya.

Among the wounded was Colonel Ghassan Alian, the Druze commander of the Golani Brigade who today serves as the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria.

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