Latest News

Israel’s elite dogs fighting terrorists in Gaza

By Mason White 4:15 PM September 10, 2014
Whiskey with its handler 

By: Hydar Tomar
A group of elite dogs helped the Israel Defense Forces fight terrorists in Gaza, the IDF Blog reported.

During Operation Protective Edge, the dogs of the IDF’s Oketz unit battled terrorists in Gaza.

Many of the dogs were wounded in combat, but that didn’t stop them from continuing the fight.

Only ten days after suffering a severe injury in Gaza, Whiskey – a dog in the IDF’s Oketz unit – eagerly returned to the battlefield.

Whiskey wasn’t alone. During Operation Protective Edge, several of the IDF’s dogs were wounded in clashes with Hamas terrorists. Like Whiskey, many of them continued fighting despite their wounds.

Oketz is the IDF’s elite canine unit and the best of its kind in the world. The unit’s soldiers undergo intense training to lead infantry forces and special units into battle. They prepare year round to join IDF troops in all sorts of situations, from basic missions to the most complex operations.

“Our dogs are filled with motivation, and they rarely reveal that something is wrong with them,” explained Major A, one of the unit’s senior veterinarians. On the first day of the operation’s ground phase, a bullet entered Whiskey’s leg near a major artery. Despite the injury, the dog continued to carry out its mission alongside IDF soldiers.

More than two hours after Whiskey’s injury, its handler noticed that it was limping and needed urgent medical attention. IDF soldiers immediately evacuated it to a hospital in Israel, where veterinarians performed surgery and saved its life.

Only ten days later, Whiskey returned to the battlefield. Kimba, another of the unit’s canines, and its handler were wounded after terrorists fired a mortar in their direction.

After suffering shrapnel wounds to the head and chest, Kimba underwent surgery in an Israeli veterinary hospital. Throughout its period of recovery, it received regular visits from its IDF handler, who insisted on coming to see the dog despite his own wounds.

The IDF honors its canines much like its soldiers. When four dogs were killed in Gaza, Oketz held a moving ceremony in their memory. Dozens of handlers came to pay their respects to the fallen canines, a sign of the strong bonds between the unit’s handlers and their dogs.