Unit Oketz


Unit Oketz

Unit Oketz ( _he. עוקץ; lit. sting), is the independent K-9 special forces (sayeret) unit, founded in 1939 as part of the Haganah, within the Israel Defense Forces. The unit specialises in training and handling dogs for military applications. Originally, Oketz trained dogs to attack kidnappers, but training has become more specialised, and now the k-9 unit. Each dog is now trained to have a particular speciality. Attack dogs are trained to operate in urban areas, as well as in rural, bushy areas (they were used extensively in Lebanon). Dogs are trained as tracking and chasing dogs, for manhunts and detecting breaches at the borders. Dogs are also trained as weapons and ammunition dogs, to search for guns and munitions, as explosive dogs, to sniff out hidden explosives and as search and rescue dogs, to find people in collapsed buildings.

Unit Oketz operators are often assigned to other units in the case of a particular need for their specialist skills, such as in the extraction of terrorists from fortified buildings. Though not affiliated with the IDF Paratroopers Brigade, Unit Oketz operators wear the same distinctive red berets and the unit's graduation ceremony is held at the Paratroopers headquarters.

Dogs

Unit Oketz prefers Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois), over the German Shepherd Dog and Rottweiler, which were employed formerly. The reasons for the choice are twofold: they're the perfect size to be picked up by their handler while still being able to attack an enemy, and their coats are short and general neutral to fair in colour, making them less prone to heatstroke.

External links

* [http://www.zahal.org/constant_contact/article200503dogs.htm Combat Dogs cemetery of the Oketz unit]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIg_YaRRut8 Oketz - The Crack Canine Unit] Youtube video about Oketz - The Crack Canine Unit
* [http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Briefs/7755.htm Israeli army's dogs to get new home, upscale cemetery] article by "IsraelInsider" daily newsmagazine about new home for Israeli army's dogs
* [http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/News/the_Front/2007/06/1001.htm Kidnap Attempt of an IDF Soldier Thwarted] article about thwarted kidnap attempt of an IDF soldier - A dog from the IDF Oketz canine unit is killed
* [http://lists.envirolink.org/pipermail/ar-news/Week-of-Mon-20040524/025251.html Another bomb-sniffing dog dies during duty] article by AR-News, written by Arene Fine, Staff Reporter, about Toska, an Israeli bomb-sniffing dog who died in battle
* [http://www.nic.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Memorial/2004/St.-Sgt.+Nadav+Kudinski.htm St.-Sgt. Nadav Kudinski] Article published by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about Staff-Sergeant Nadav Kudinski of the IDF Oketz canine unit, who, along with his dog, was killed by a bomb.
* [http://www.sawf.org/newedit/edit12122005/worldwatch.asp Israel's Dogs of War]


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