Mixed-gender battalion fights in Gaza for first time

The female and male fighters joined combat teams of the 162nd Division.

Men and women of the 498th “Shahar” Search and Rescue Battalion operate
in the Gaza Strip, Nov. 19, 2023. Photo: IDF Spokesperson.

JNS Staff Report
November 19, 2026

For the first time, a mixed-gender battalion is fighting inside the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said on Sunday.

The soldiers from the 498th “Shahar” Battalion, part of the Home Front Command’s Rescue and Training Brigade, joined the ground forces’ activity in Gaza, the IDF said.

The female and male fighters of the battalion joined brigade combat teams of the 162nd Division, performing tasks such as scanning buildings and locating weapons in the area of the Shati Camp. The camp is a Hamas stronghold in northern Gaza.

During a raid on a hotel where Hamas terrorists were hiding, soldiers also uncovered an underground floor in a hotel where intelligence material was found.

The Shahar Battalion’s engineers also advise other soldiers on the safety of damaged buildings they consider entering.

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