IDF will use attack dogs in future flotilla interceptions

Decision follows intensive deliberations on how to improve boarding techniques following the bloody confrontation on Marvi Marmara.

October 7, 2010 20:45
1 minute read.
THE MOURNING dog is seen at a Let the Animals Live

Dog 58. (photo credit: Let the Animals Live)


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The IDF's K9 Oketz Unit will be deployed in future interceptions of Gaza-bound ships or flotillas to assist soldiers in boarding the vessels, a military source said on Thursday.

The decision followed intensive deliberations by military chiefs on how to improve boarding techniques following the bloody confrontation on board the Marvi Marmara ship on May 31, in which Navy commandos were stabbed, beaten with poles, and beaten, and nine activists killed.

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Boarding the ships has been identified by military planners as the most problematic stage in flotilla interceptions, and the Oketz unit is seen as a promising solution.

Video footage provided by the IDF of the Maravara raid shows naval commandos being assaulted by multiple attackers immediately after descending from a helicopter.

In future interceptions, specially trained dogs will be placed on the ships first in order to ensure that naval commandos can safely board.

The incorporation of the K9 unit will require dog trainers and their animals to train together with the commandos. 

The Oketz Unit operates under the command of the IDF's General Staff, and trains dogs to take part in counter-terrorism missions, search and rescue tasks, and other specialized activities.

"The dogs are weapons in every sense - like snipers or tank shells - but they are biological weapons," the Yehdia website, an online military magazine, said in an article on the unit. 

"They are animals that should be bonded with and trained for the missions they will face," the website added.

During his August testimony before the Turkel Commission, set up to investigate the raid on the Marmara, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi hinted that snipers would be used in future raids of ships carrying violent and armed individuals.

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