Dog has firm grip on protester
Photo: EPA
Dogs won't take part in protest dispersals
IDF's Canine Unit suspends use of dogs in crowd dispersal situations after dog bit Palestinian protester last March

Dogs belonging to the IDF's Canine Unit Oketz will no longer be used in protests following an incident where a dog that was unleashed by one of the soldiers bit and injured a Palestinian.


An inquiry revealed that the combatant failed to follow procedure by not putting a muzzle on the dog's mouth. As a result, the dog bit the protester in his upper torso. It took the soldiers several minutes to control the dog.


Dog assaults Palestinian protester in Kafr Qaddum


While the soldier was not suspended, guidelines at the Canine Unit have been revisited. It has been decided to suspend the use of dogs in crowd-dispersal situations pending further notice.


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The event itself was documented by activists in a video uploaded to Youtube. In the video, the Palestinian is seen trying to free himself from the dog's grip. A senior IDF official told Ynet that dogs are rarely used to disperse protests in the West Bank.


"We try to avoid it as a matter of policy, despite the fact that it is considered a non-fatal weapon, just like rubber bullets," he said.


"This incident was not so good for us because the combatant had a hard time 'unlocking' the dog's grip, for 7-10 minutes. Had he been wearing a muzzle, the Palestinian likely would have not been hurt."


Canine Unit teams are assigned to brigades across the West Bank and take part in arrests of senior officials and the tracing of weapons.


The dogs themselves, mostly German shepherds, are purchased in Germany and spend an average of 6-7 in the army's service. They are trained to attack to chase after targets as well as trace explosives.




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