UK to Conduct Surveillance Flights Over Gaza in Search of Hamas-Held Hostages.
London, United Kingdom: The UK’s military is set to initiate surveillance flights over Gaza to locate hostages held by Hamas since their October 7 attack on Israel, as confirmed by Britain’s defense ministry.
Following the attack, Hamas fighters seized approximately 240 Israelis and foreign hostages, with around 110 having been freed, mostly during a recent week-long truce.
Israel’s military, blaming Hamas, announced the resumption of combat in the besieged Palestinian territory, hindering hopes for the swift release of over 130 captives still held in Gaza, according to the Israeli army.
In response, the UK government confirmed that at least 12 British nationals were killed in the October 7 attacks, and five remain missing. However, the exact number held by Hamas has not been disclosed.
The UK’s military surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including airspace over Israel and Gaza, will focus exclusively on hostage recovery efforts. The flights, conducted by unarmed and unmanned drones, aim to provide information solely related to hostage rescue to the relevant authorities.
The UK, alongside the United States, had previously deployed various military assets to the eastern Mediterranean in October to deter any potential interference in the conflict, including maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft and a Royal Navy task group.
London did not disclose the exact commencement date of the surveillance flights. The UK Ministry of Defence emphasized that the aircraft would not have a combat role and would solely concentrate on locating hostages in support of ongoing rescue activities.