Amit Levy, an Ashdod Police superintendent, led a civil defense squad in battle at Kibbutz Nirim where he lives, fighting back dozens of Hamas terrorists, buying precious time and saving many lives.
Early on October 7, he woke up to an unusually heavy barrage of missiles from Gaza. “I saw the amount of alerts; it just didn’t make sense, this was clearly not a usual situation,” he told Walla! News. “I thought that I might not return.”
As gunshots echoed through Nirim, and Levy’s kibbutz members learned of the horrors already taking place in Sderot (the Israeli town whose name has become synonymous with life under missile threat from Gaza), they alerted him to the presence of Hamas terrorists inside the perimeter: “They wrote to me that terrorists are shooting at their house, throwing grenades at them.”
After getting his gun and protective gear and leaving his spouse and children at the police station, he gave his 16-year-old son — not far from draft age — a knife to protect his mother and siblings. “I told him, the first one who enters — you stick this knife through him.”
With no army forces in sight, following a call with Daniel Meir, Nirim’s chief security officer, Levy realized they were on their own. He contacted neighbors Dr. Michael Bess and Stanislav Tarletsky, who then picked up Meir, and formed a small squad.
“We realized there were dozens of terrorists inside, and smoke from burned houses was already rising. We got ready to strike back.” Despite succeeding in pushing back many of Hamas’ forces at first, they were soon faced with even more invaders: the elite Nukhba unit, arriving on motorcycles and pickups.
The tiny army of four was running out of ammunition, facing dozens of terrorists pouring in. “We managed to hurt some of them but they were throwing grenades. I did not believe we would survive.”
Thanks to creative thinking, the group managed to climb the kibbutz grain silo to buy time and keep fellow residents safe, until the arrival of army forces, catching Hamas off guard from this upper position.
“They thought no one would fight back, that we were some commando force that showed up, and eventually they ran away. They are the biggest cowards when it comes to face-to-face combat,” said Levy.
At 11:30, hours after the battle began, an Air Force combat helicopter appeared, and the group continued to fight the terrorists inside the kibbutz from their tower, while the helicopter pilot and other forces rained fire at enemies outside the fence.
When additional Israeli forces arrived, Levy went on to help a family with a baby, stuck inside a house set on fire by Hamas. He saved them, then kept moving from house to house until the kibbutz was cleared and safe.
“We knew this meant living or dying,” he concluded, “If we didn’t stop them, they would have massacred the entire kibbutz.”