The Hannibal Procedure is one of those elephants in the room that no one wants to talk about. The procedure itself stems from several incidents in which Israeli soldiers were abducted, and any attempts to have them released or even gain information about their whereabouts resulted in expensive deals and a shattered image of the Jewish state in the Middle East.

Gaza, summer 2014.

Sayeret Givati’s Major Benaya Sarel was leading a tactical effort to expose and secure a tunnel. Not just another tunnel, but the last known tunnel in the AO. He knew that they had just a few hours left before they would have to withdraw back to Israel. As in any SF unit, time is a core value, and so are mission objectives. You do not stop or slow down until you complete your goals. Sayeret Givati was pushing toward their designated location in the early morning. According to their intel, the tunnel was in their vicinity and the shaft seemed to be located within a concrete tower.

Several teams of Sayeret Givati were pulling security, allowing the unit commander and his “Chapak,” a command and control (C2) party of six soldiers, to move closer to the designated target to collect visual information and to evaluate his COA of the situation. Benaya, the unit commander of Sayeret Givati, spotted a guard inside the tower on the second floor. A short discussion with the Givati brigade commander and other relevant elements confirmed that there were no friendlies in the AO; that was probably a Hamas scout guarding that shaft.