ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Those We Have Lost

Cpt. Sahar Saudyan, 21: Iron Dome operator who was ‘a real hero’

Killed when Hamas terrorists overran southern Israel on October 7

Cpt. Sahar Saudian (IDF)
Cpt. Sahar Saudian (IDF)

Cpt. Sahar Saudyan, 21, from Rosh Ha’ayin, who was operating an Iron Dome battery in the south, was killed on October 7 when Hamas terrorists stormed into southern Israel.

She is survived by her parents, Helen and David, sister Stav and brothers Dor, Dvir and Dolev.

A young soldier who was with her on that Saturday, fresh out of training — identified only as A. — told Ynet that they all had a “fun and successful and team-building weekend, with an enjoyable dinner that Sahar organized for everyone on Thursday night.” He said Friday evening, just before the Hamas assault, “we played the Jungle Speed card game, we laughed and we went to sleep to get ready for our shift at dawn.”

But a little more than two hours into their shift, things became anything but routine. The soldier said Saudyan, the senior officer on duty at the Iron Dome battery, was the first to spot the wave of rockets on the screen, as they jumped into action to counter an attack like they’d never seen before.

“It was my first time in a real event of rockets, and Sahar rushed to calm me down, to put a hand on my shoulder, to give me the strength to intercept rocket after rocket in the first minutes,” recounted A. to Ynet.

Several hours later, Saudyan and two other IDF soldiers — Sgt. Nativ Kuzaro, 21, and Sgt. Binyamin Gavriel Yona, 19 — left to restock the Iron Dome battery with interceptor missiles. The missiles are stored nearby, but not at the battery itself.

All three were shot dead in their vehicle. Their bodies were recovered and identified several days later. They were the first ever Iron Dome battery operators to be killed in battle.

Stav Saudyan, Sahar’s sister, told Channel 13 news that she texted them that morning, shortly after 7 a.m., “‘Take care of yourselves, everything is OK, I’m protecting you — we’ll talk when I can.’ She wrote in the family group that we can be proud of her. We’re absolutely proud of her.”

Stav said that Sahar is her only sister, “and we were very, very close.”

She said all three of the fallen soldiers “were really heroes because they knew what they were walking into and they went anyway, so that rockets wouldn’t fall on Israel. Not on their watch.”

Sahar’s brother, Dvir Saudyan, wrote on Facebook that his sister was a hero.

“My happiness, the light in our home, the most precious thing to me in the world, went like a hero to defend the residents of the south,” he wrote. “If only I could give her my own heart now.”

“I will remember you as the twin of my heart, who was a role model to be admired, with a huge and good heart and endless generosity.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here. 

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