IDF’s Oketz K9 Unit: Dog Killed in Gaza Blast While Saving Handler’s Life


IDF canine Tamara, took the worst of the impact in explosion of booby-trapped Gaza house

• Tamara‘s handler, Staff Sgt. T., was moderately wounded, and “he’s grieving for her”
• The Paratroopers’ Oketz Unit holds memorial ceremonies for its dogs KIA

By Meytal Yasour Beit-Or


A dog from the IDF’s Oketz K9 unit who was killed last week when a booby-trapped house in Gaza exploded saved her handler’s life.

Tamara and Staff Sgt. T. – IDF

Last Wednesday, Tamara and her handler, Staff Sgt. T. of the Oketz Unit, went into action in Gaza. The pair were inside an explosives-rigged house when it blew up. Tamara was killed on the spot, and T. was hit by shrapnel. He is currently hospitalized in the Rehabilitation Hospital at Sheba Medical Center.

T.’s mother, Anat, has not left her son’s side.

“They were accompanying a company of paratroopers that was operating in a Gaza neighborhood,” Anat said.

“Tamara was an attack dog, not a dog who was trained to sniff out bombs. She went into the booby-trapped house and was killed. She actually blocked the strongest blast and saved my son’s life, because he was right next to her.”

T. was originally classed as moderately wounded and has since been downgraded to lightly wounded.

“She [Tamara] was his best friend and he’s grieving for her,” Anat said.

Oketz Unit tradition stipulates that the dogs killed in war be given a ceremonial burial at the unit’s home base, but Tamara’s body has not yet been recovered.


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