Israel Palestine Conflict

UK to conduct surveillance flights over Israel, Gaza to search for Hamas hostages

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The UK will conduct surveillance flights over Israel and Gaza in an effort to search for and locate the hostages taken by Palestinian militant group Hamas, the Ministry of Defense said.

“Since the terrorist attacks against Israel of 7 October 2023, the UK government has been working with partners across the region to secure the release of hostages, including British nationals, who have been kidnapped. The safety of British nationals is our utmost priority,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added: “In support of the ongoing hostage rescue activity, the UK Ministry of Defense will conduct surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza.”

The ministry stressed that “surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages. Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue.”

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Israel had said the Hamas attacks on October 7 killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and the militia, originally, took more than 240 hostages in one of the deadliest attacks in Israel’s history. Immediately afterwards, Israel commenced air campaigns on Gaza and launched the recent ground offensive which has resulted in the deaths of more than 16,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

During last week’s humanitarian pause brokered by Qatar, Hamas released 105 hostages in exchange for 210 Palestinian prisoners. The truce lasted a week and broke down Friday when the fighting was resumed.

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