The United Kingdom will carry out surveillance flights over Israel and Gaza to help locate hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, the British Ministry of Defense has announced.
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“Since the terrorist attacks on Israel on 7 October 2023, the British government has been working with partners across the region to secure the release of hostages, including British nationals, who were kidnapped,” the ministry wrote in a statement released on Saturday. evening.
“The safety of British nationals is our top priority,” he adds.
“To support hostage rescue operations, the UK Ministry of Defense will conduct surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including airspace over Israel and Gaza,” the statement said. ministry.
These planes “will not be armed” and “will not have a combat role,” he specifies. Their sole mission will be to locate the hostages. “Only information relating to the release of hostages will be transmitted to the competent authorities responsible for the release of hostages.”
Some 240 people were kidnapped on October 7 during Hamas’ unprecedented deadly attack in southern Israel, then taken to the Gaza Strip.
A seven-day truce allowed the release of around a hundred hostages in the hands of Hamas and 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
But nearly 140 people are still detained in the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli authorities.
Fighting resumed on Friday in the Palestinian territory.
In retaliation for the October 7 attack, which left 1,200 people dead, mostly civilians according to Israeli authorities, Israel launched a massive bombing campaign on Gaza, followed by a ground operation.
Israeli operations have left more than 15,000 dead, mostly civilians, according to Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007.
London has not said how many Britons are being held hostage.
After October 7, Downing Street said at least 12 British nationals had been killed in the attack and five others were missing.