Two commanders of Israeli elite units died in clashes with Hamas

Colonels Steinberg and Levy, commanders of elite Israeli units, died in clashes with Hamas and became the highest-ranking officers killed in the conflict.

On October 8, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that Colonel Jonathan Steinberg, commander of the 933rd Brigade "Nahal", was killed in a "confrontation with a terrorist" in the Kerem Shalom area near the border with the Gaza Strip. . Israeli media said Steinberg encountered a Hamas gunman while moving to a fight site led by his subordinates and was shot dead.

Nahal is one of the five main infantry brigades of the Israeli army, established in 1982 and affiliated with the Southern Command. The unit consists of 3 infantry battalions and a reconnaissance battalion, has participated in many campaigns in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and has been awarded many times for its combat achievements.

Colonel Steinberg (center) in photo released by the Israeli army on October 8. Photo: IDF

Colonel Roi Levy, commander of Joint Task Force Unit No. 888, also known as the "Ghost unit", was also killed in a gunfight with Hamas forces in the Re'im area on October 7.

Unit 888 belongs to the 99th Reserve Infantry Division, whose mission is to detect and attack the enemy on all fronts, combining the combat capabilities of infantry, engineers, anti-tank soldiers, air force and Intelligence. This force is also responsible for testing new combat technologies on the battlefield, before they are widely disseminated to the Israeli army.

Steinberg and Levy are the two highest-ranking officers on the list of nearly 50 soldiers killed published by the Israeli Ministry of Defense after two days of conflict.

Hamas, the armed group that controls the Gaza Strip, announced on October 7 that it launched more than 5,000 rockets and conducted a coordinated raid by land, paragliding in the air, and by sea against Israel. Hamas officials emphasized that the campaign originated from Tel Aviv's "escalating attacks" against Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and in Israeli prisons.

The Israeli army reported that more than 4,000 projectiles were directed towards its territory, some of which passed through the Iron Dome system and crashed into targets in many urban areas, including the city of Tel Aviv. After being surprised by the offensive campaign, Israel declared war on Hamas and concentrated its forces to take back towns and settlements from the enemy, and conducted many air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The clashes have so far left at least 800 Israeli civilians and soldiers dead, while Gaza officials say the death toll in the strip has risen to more than 500.

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