The Israeli Confessions

K. and H. were personal proteges of the commander, Biro. Everyone knew that he liked them, that he had raised them, and that they had returned his favor on the battleground. In any event, that was all that what Biro wanted from them.

“I never forced soldiers to use a knife when they could use guns”

Biro explained

“But killing with a knife was always my hobby. I am good at that. What someone else does not do in a day with a hundred clips and 1,000 bullets I did at night with one commando knife? K., a golden boy would sometimes go out with me at night to help me with the holy work with the knife. I turned H., whom no one expected to amount so much because he was just a chicken storage manager who was even afraid to parachute, into a real killer ((A term of praise.))in that campaign. I made a soldier out of him. Whether K., H. and others dealt with the Fedayin who were captured at Ras Sudar is not important, since no one is going to establish an inquiry committee against the shooters. But if you are talking about facts, then there were exactly 56 men in the truck when they ran into us. Only six, not 20, remained alive after the barrage of fire. And yes, they too, as the rest of the men in the truck, went to sleep after that.”

On November 4, 1956, the paratroopers arrived at Al-Tur, after a lengthy drive from Ras Sudar. Only on the following evening, on the sixth day of the campaign, they began to move in a convoy south to Sharm al-Sheikh, to end the war. There is a huge controversy about what happened along those last 15 kilometers that separated them from Sharm al-Sheikh. Some people are prepared to swear that soldiers in Raful’s unit gave the Egyptians a lesson in looting, taking booty and mass killing, all in broad daylight.

In contrast to former isolated events, such as the affairs at Mitla or at Ras Sudar, which were then erased from the battle history books, the journey of Battalion 890 to Sharm al-Sheikh forced the Israeli army to construct a firm alibi for itself and even issue its own version. The reason was simple. The road leading to Sharm al-Sheikh was so strewn with dozens of dead bodies, one next to the other, sometimes even on top of each other, all of them were bodies of Egyptian or Sudanese soldiers who were killed without battle and then stripped of their possessions. It was a genuine slaughterhouse.

Besides, the paratroopers’ conspiracy of silence was broken. The shocking scenes were seen by the soldiers of the 9th Division who arrived to the area at about the same time and they did not have to try hard to understand what had taken place.

The Israeli army version, as found in its various publications on the war, stated:

“On its way to Sharm al-Sheikh, the Paratroopers’ Unit confronted an Egyptian division, a small part of which began a battle with our troops and was eliminated in the course of exchange of fire. Most of the Egyptians were then taken prisoners and held until transferred to Israeli territory. If personal booty was taken, it was confiscated and burnt.”


The former Chief of Staff, General (reserves) Moshe Levy was at the time the operations officer of Battalion 890. He totally denied the claim that hundreds of Egyptian POWs were slaughtered in Sinai. Levi claimed that many Egyptian soldiers were shot on the way to Sharm al-Sheikh, but that everything happened according to the cruel rules of warfare. “This is the first time that I have heard the term ‘massacre’ in relation to the Suez War,”

Levy said

“The task of 890 was certainly to clean up the area from al-Tur to Sharm al-Sheikh and the Egyptian division coming from the south did not make their job any easier. At certain sections of the road a battle developed, and at other sections, the Egyptians chose to surrender and were taken in an orderly manner, to temporary prisons that had been prepared in advance in Sharm al-Sheikh. Later they were taken to Israel as POWs. As far as I know there was no situation when Egyptian soldiers raised their hands and were then shot by our troops. That is simply not true.”