Today in History: Battle of Ad-Halom

King of Egypt. Wikipedia, AP

Today, in 1948, the battle of the bridge of Ad-Halom took place, in which the Egyptian invasion of Israel was halted.

Immediately after the Israeli declaration of independence in May 1948, 4 armies (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq) invaded the new country on various fronts. The most formidable and significant invasion was by the Egyptian army, which began with the advance of several brigades from the Gaza Strip along the coast, with its destination at Tel Aviv. The Egyptians were entangled for several days by Yad Mordechai, but managed to conquer the kibbutz after a tough and heroic battle. Then the Egyptian army advanced to Majdal (Ashkelon today), and on May 28 they arrived north of the village of Isdud (Ashdod). This was the border of the land that was allocated to the Arabs in the partition plan – and, in retrospect, it turns out, the limit of the Egyptian advance (although some believe that the Egyptians did not really intend to go beyond Isdud). In the following days, the IDF carried out 2 operations: Isdud’s aerial bombing and the Egyptian headquarters, and at the same time, Operation ‘Plashet’ – a massive assault of just under a thousand soldiers from the Givati and Negev brigades throughout the entire front of the Expeditionary Force. Givati forces attacked from the north, in the Isdud Bridge area (now the Battle of Ad-Halom – untill here) above the Lachish Creek, and were blocked; the forces of the Negev Brigade broke south of the Expeditionary Force and attacked Isdud from the west, but encountered fierce resistance and were forced to retreat in order to prevent a counter-flanking. The attack failed, and more than 100 IDF soldiers were wounded and killed; but its strength, along with the emphasis on Israeli air superiority, led to the Egyptian army’s decision to stop their advance, which was increasingly met with more severe resistance as they moved north. In the opinion of many, this is a turning point in the campaign, and on the southern front as a whole, since the strategic initiative began to pass to the Israeli army. Later in the war, most of the IDF’s efforts were focused on the removal of the Egyptian army from the areas it had occupied and its withdrawal back to Gaza.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

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