Blinken Holds Meeting with Netanyahu Amid Escalating Gaza Crisis in Israel-Hamas Conflict

New Perspective on US Drones Flying Over Gaza

New Perspective on US Drones Flying Over Gaza

US Military Providing Assistance to Israel in Locating Hostages

According to multiple US officials familiar with the matter, the US military is utilizing surveillance drones to fly over Gaza as part of American efforts to help Israel locate the more than 240 hostages still held by Hamas.

Surge of Intelligence Assets Sent to the Region

Following the surprise attack on southern Israel, both Israeli and US intelligence services were caught off guard. In response, a surge of intelligence assets, including drones, has been sent to the region in the days and weeks after the incident.

Monitoring Potential Escalation of Tensions

In addition to the drones flying over Gaza, two MQ-9 Reapers, highly sophisticated surveillance drones, were observed off the coast of Lebanon. The US is closely monitoring for any signs of escalation of tensions by Lebanese Hezbollah or any other Iranian proxy force.

Challenges of Locating Hostages

It is uncertain how helpful the imagery collected by the drones flying over Gaza will be in locating the hostages. Former intelligence officials believe that the hostages are likely held in the extensive network of underground tunnels.

Focus on Hostage Recovery, Not Targeting Intelligence

US officials emphasize that the intelligence gathered by the drones and shared with Israel is solely for hostage recovery efforts. It is not “targeting intelligence” used for conducting lethal strikes against Hamas leaders and positions.

US Special Operations Personnel Advising Israeli Defense Forces

In addition to providing bombs and other lethal aid, US special operations personnel are advising the Israeli Defense Forces on hostage recovery efforts. However, the US military is not participating in IDF target development or assisting in running the campaign in Gaza.

Information on Hamas Activities

Several officials acknowledge that the information gathered by the drones, which is shared with Israel, could also be valuable in tracking Hamas’s activities beyond holding hostages.

International Criticism and Assistance from US

Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza have drawn international criticism for the potential risk to civilians in the blockaded enclave. As part of the assistance, the Biden administration sent Marine Corps general James Glynn to counsel the IDF on planning its tactical assault on Gaza.

American Hostages Among the Captives

Out of the more than 240 hostages still held by Hamas, it is believed that 10 of them are Americans.

Read More of this Story at – 2023-11-03 15:15:57

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