Following the Oct. 7 hostage-taking by terror organization Hamas, the Pentagon has announced the deployment of unarmed U.S. reconnaissance drones to support the search in Gaza, complementing the Israel-led recovery mission with aerial surveillance and strategic assistance, while explicitly stating no U.S. combat forces will engage in ground operations.
The U.S. military has deployed surveillance drones over Gaza to assist Israel in locating over 240 hostages held by the terror organization. The drone operation follows the unexpected Oct. 7 attack on Israel, spurring increased intelligence efforts.
Additionally, two MQ-9 Reaper drones have been observed off Lebanon’s coast, amid concerns of regional tensions with Iranian-backed forces.
Pentagon spokesperson confirmed the UAV operations are solely for recovery efforts, not for targeting intelligence. The effectiveness of the drones over Gaza’s complex tunnel networks remains uncertain, with some of the hostages believed to be Americans.
Despite the advisory role of U.S. special operations in Israel, the Pentagon has clarified its non-participation in the IDF’s target development or campaign strategy in Gaza. The main focus of the U.S. support is on planning and intelligence for hostage rescue, not direct military engagement.
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