Fighting females take on tough Israeli combat roles

09:29, December 30, 2010      

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by Gur Salomon

The same uniforms, boots, helmets and heavy webbing. The same deafening crack of rifles spitting out rounds. The same rough training, missions, and camouflage makeup.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Karakal Battalion, however, is unique in one important respect: it is the sole infantry unit comprised of both female and male combat troops. They patrol the country's borders with Egypt and Jordan.

"End of drill! Make sure the safety switch is on. We're heading back," a husky male voice shouts to a group of troops taking a hill in a maneuver.

A young soldier, sprawling exhausted on the desert plateau, slams her fist in frustration.

"Why? No! There's another hill to charge, another hill," she said as her face gave away her disappointment. "Another hill, another hill..." she implores.

"No more hills. That's it," her commander shouted back.

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