The Pentagon Increases U.S. Involvement in Gaza
Arab States Say 'Hamas Status Quo' Cannot Continue
In an updated post made a few moments prior to this report, The Guardian wrote that Arab states had reached the consensus the Hamas-controlled status quo in Gaza “could not continue.”
The Israel-Gaza conflict has seen an increase in the involvement of the Pentagon, as advanced United States surveillance drones are now actively operating over the Gaza Strip. This revelation comes after The New York Times reported that MQ-9 Reaper drones have been among the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying over the region, including off the Lebanese coast as tensions with Hezbollah soar.
As the war in Gaza rages, the U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken has backed support for "humanitarian pauses," hearing frustrations from Israel's Middle East neighbors, The New York Times reports. Analysts stated that Blinken hopes to "contain" the war between Israel and Hamas, as global concerns over the civilian toll as well as the potential for escalations rises every day the war continues, CBS News reports.
Confirming the report, a US military spokesman stated on Friday that the MQ-9 Reaper drones have been deployed in support of hostage recovery efforts in Gaza. "In support of hostage recovery efforts, the U.S. is conducting unarmed UAV flights over Gaza, as well as providing advice and assistance to support our Israeli partner as they work on their hostage recovery efforts," said Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder. He further added, "These UAV flights began after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel."
The MQ-9 Reaper is one of the most advanced drones in America's arsenal and can be armed for combat or equipped for spying and monitoring missions. Its deployment over Gaza signifies the seriousness of the situation and the determination of the United States to assist in the recovery of hostages held by Hamas.
Israel has estimated that more than 240 hostages are being held by Hamas, possibly in their vast network of tunnels. While two American captives were released a couple of weeks ago, there are believed to be many more dual nationals, including individuals from other countries. Hamas considers all captives as Israelis regardless of their citizenship.
According to a report by The New York Times, the MQ-9 Reaper drones are operated by US Special Operations forces and were first spotted on Flightradar24, a publicly accessible flight-tracking website, on Saturday. However, Pentagon officials have clarified that the drones have been active in the area since the days following the surprise attack by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7.
While Israel often conducts reconnaissance flights over Gaza, this marks the first known instance of US drones flying missions over the region. The increased presence of US surveillance drones underscores the deepening involvement of the Pentagon in the Israel-Gaza conflict.
As tensions continue to escalate in the region, the deployment of advanced US surveillance drones demonstrates the commitment of the United States to support its Israeli partner in addressing the hostage crisis. The use of these drones will provide valuable intelligence and aid in the efforts to locate and recover the hostages held by Hamas.
The situation remains fluid, and the deployment of US surveillance drones is expected to play a crucial role in gathering information and assisting in the ongoing hostage recovery efforts. The Pentagon's increased involvement underscores the significance of the Israel-Gaza conflict and the international community's determination to resolve the crisis and ensure the safe return of all hostages.