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The Israeli Fire and Rescue Authority is working to expand its special operations unit, an auxiliary Specialized Rescue Unit tasked with complex and special missions such as rescuing fellow firefighters and civilians from difficult situations.

The unit, which is fairly new, now comprises nine firefighters and plans are underway to expand it to 40. The crew is required to withstand arduous physical assignments and operate unique equipment. The special ops firefighters must operate in difficult and extreme terrain, so their gear is specially designed and improved for this purpose.

iHLS Israel Homeland Security

Firefighters from the Specialized Rescue Unit have already taken part in putting out a large fire at a factory in Caesarea and two fires in the Jerusalem forest. Some of them have recently taken part in firefighting operations in Greece along with their Greek counterparts, including helicopters.

The Specialized Rescue Unit is primarily tasked with rescuing firefighters in distress and civilians caught in dire and multifaceted situations that require highly specialized training. They further undergo special training that include diving so that may be able to conduct search and rescue missions at sea.

Candidates to the Specialized Rescue Unit must pass physical exams and demonstrate team work, grace under pressure and continuous workload.