ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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IDF: Search and rescue Unit 669 has carried out over 60 medevacs, 200 more ops during war

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Unit 669 carries out a medical evacuation from the Gaza Strip during Israel's ground offensive, in an image published November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Unit 669 carries out a medical evacuation from the Gaza Strip during Israel's ground offensive, in an image published November 13, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Air Force’s elite helicopter-borne search and rescue Unit 669 has carried out more than 60 medical evacuations from inside the Gaza Strip, during the military’s ground offensive, taking wounded soldiers to hospitals in Israel.

Unit 669 is made up of rescue specialists, combat medics and doctors, and helicopter pilots.

Apart from the medical evacuations, the unit has carried out 200 other operations since October 7, during the fighting in southern Israel in the first weeks of the war.

The Israel Defense Forces publishes new footage showing a Unit 669 helicopter flying into the Gaza Strip via the sea, arriving at an area off the coast and picking up two wounded soldiers who were hurt while battling Hamas.

“From the beginning of the ground operation, the rescue helicopter squadron has evacuated dozens of wounded in complex terrain conditions, under fire, and in extreme situations,” says the commander of the 123rd Squadron, which operates Black Hawk choppers for Unit 669, Lt. Col. “Ayin” — who can only be identified by his rank and first initial in Hebrew.

“The rescue helicopter array works in close cooperation with Unit 669 and ground forces, which results in life-saving rescues,” he says. “The goal is safe and quick rescues, as well as arriving at a medical center as quickly as possible.”

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