Photo Credit: Erik Marmor / Flash 90
The scene of the deadly earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, February 11, 2023.

Israeli search and rescue personnel rescued a nine-year-old boy in southeastern Turkey on Friday night, more than 120 years after a massive earthquake and severe aftershocks destroyed much of the region.


More than 25,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands more were injured since Monday, when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria.

Pulled from the rubble in Kahramanmaras, Ridvan was the 19th Turkish civilian to be rescued by the IDF’s Home Front Command team, the IDF said.

In the same building, on the second day of the expedition, two more trapped people were rescued alive.

Halvah to Calm Fears
During the complex rescue operation, which lasted more than 24 hours, 9-year-old Ridvan received medical treatment from an Israeli pediatric specialist. When he was freed, the child was taken to the field hospitals for further care.

Ridvan’s 14-year-old sister, Romisa, was rescued along with their father Mohammed earlier in the week. Sadly, their deceased mother’s body was also found under the rubble.

Israeli teams managed to save a 10-year-old boy on Friday from a destroyed building in the same city as well.

One boy arrived at the IDF field hospital with moderate injuries in the pelvic area, according to the IDF.

“The boy lost his parents and is the only survivor of his family. To calm the child while treating him, a nurse gave him a piece of halvah from the rations brought by members of the delegation,” the IDF said.

Israeli Teams Told by Chief Rabbi to Work Through Sabbath
Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau issued a ruling on Friday that the emergency teams should work through the Sabbath to rescue as many people as possible.

“As long as there is any hope of saving lives and finding survivors, operations should continue,” Lau wrote in the ruling, which was published. “Treatment of the wounded should not be interrupted,” he added.

So far this weekend, Israeli rescue forces have saved two people, and the medical delegation has provided medical care to about 180 people, the IDF said.

Israel has fielded the second largest team – some 450 search and rescue and medical personnel — to be deployed to the disaster zone.

IDF Field Hospital Now in Operation
The IDF operation, dubbed “Olive Branches,” has been operating for nearly a week at the epicenters of the series of serious earthquakes that struck Turkey.

The teams have thus far rescued at least eight children among those who were saved, including more than 10 Syrian victims who were in Turkey at the time of the quake and injured as a result.

On Friday, IDF medical staff began providing medical care at a local hospital in the city of Kahramanmaraş. The hospital was restored by Israeli forces after being abandoned during the earthquake.

The medical staff that operates in the hospital consists of approximately 140 doctors and nurses, as well as experts in multiple medical fields. The staff is utilizing medical equipment and devices that were sent from Israel, in addition to the existing facilities of the hospital that survived the quakes.

The medical delegation brought with it to Turkey seven tons of medical equipment designated for operating rooms, triage and intensive care, along with 10 additional tons of medical equipment, plus about 10 tons of logistical and administrative equipment as well.

There are more than 230 experts taking part in Israel’s medical delegation, in addition to more than 150 participants in the rescue teams.

Moreover, search and rescue and medical teams were sent by the Israel Fire and Rescue Service, IsraAID, Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah emergency medical response services, and the ZAKA humanitarian aid organizations.

Using Intelligence to Find Survivors
A dedicated decoding team from the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 9900 is also assisting in the rescue efforts.

The team is assisting with analysis of the surface in cooperation with the “Agamim” branch of the IDF Home Front Command.

Unit 9900 produces visual intelligence and decoding satellite images which allow the IDF search and rescue teams in the field to pinpoint the locations of the destruction sites and optimize their work as a result.

“We use mapping capabilities that are predominantly used for special operations to save lives wherever needed,” explained Lieutenant “A,” commander of a Unit 9900 specialty mapping team.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.