Kibbutz Sufa gave its security chief, Elia Natan Lilintal, a hero’s welcome following the initial attack on Israel – and rightfully so; Lilintal’s actions saved the lives of more than 200 of his community members, after they found themselves under fire on October 7.
While other nearby communities suffered massive fatalities, Sufa saved itself from a similar fate, thanks to Lilintal’s quick thinking.
The first gunshots echoed across the kibbutz at 6:55am, and Lilintal, who went outside to find out what was happening, immediately spotted the terrorists. “They were better armed than I was,” he said. “They looked at me, I went back into the house. I had no protective gear; it was left in the car.”
From his bathroom window, Lilintal started shooting at a cell of four Hamas gunmen approaching his home.
“I was able to take out the first cell,” he recalled to KAN news. “They came right to my house. I took them all down before I left home — that bought us time to get things in order and gather our squad.”
Together with his teammates, he succeeded in fighting back dozens of terrorists at the kibbutz’s perimeter fence, a team of six people against countless terrorists.
“I don’t know how many of them there were… Suddenly I saw a terrorist on the other side of the barrier. I jumped from behind and they started throwing grenades. I thought there was one terrorist,” he says, learning later that he took on over 10 Hamas killers in those moments.
“There were many explosions; they threw three grenades at me,” he said.
Lilintal’s bravery, as well as his teammates’, curbed Sufa’s losses to three members of the kibbutz, and the team was welcomed as the real heroes they proved themselves to be, on that eventful, bloody morning.
“I’m very moved,” he told KAN news. “I did not realize until this moment how many lives I have saved. I’m still understanding what I actually did. I feel blessed to have done it… Am Israel chai,” he concluded. “We will win, I have no doubt in my mind about it. We have many heroes, many stories of heroism. I am just one small part in this whole story.”