Washington – American drones are flying over the Gaza Strip, deployed by the United States military in an effort to help find and free hostages held by the Palestinian radical movement Hamas. It was announced today by the US Department of Defense. Among the hostages taken by Hamas in its attack on southern Israel in October are also people with American passports.
“In support of the hostage rescue efforts, the United States is conducting unarmed drone flights over Gaza and providing advice and assistance to our Israeli partners,” Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder was quoted as saying by AFP. It was not clear how many drones the Americans deployed in this context and when this operation began.
In their surprise attack on October 7, Hamas militants captured over 200 people, including many foreigners, in Israeli territory. Five of them, including two women with American citizenship, were released in recent weeks, while several others were killed by Israeli airstrikes, according to Hamas. Washington has repeatedly called for the release of all prisoners and is again urging Israel to negotiate a ceasefire to that end.
The New York Times (NYT) newspaper reported on Tuesday that members of American special forces are helping to search for hostages in Israel. Christopher Maier, who oversees these operations at the Pentagon, did not say how many such soldiers are currently operating in Israel. However, other sources, who spoke to the NYT on condition of anonymity, said the Defense Department had sent dozens of special forces members in recent weeks, while already having a smaller team in Israel on Oct. 7 for a previously scheduled training session.
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