The United States is flying unarmed drones over Gaza to aid efforts to free the more than 240 hostages seized by the Hamas militant group when it attacked Israel, the Pentagon said Friday.
“In support of hostage recovery efforts, the US 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,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a statement.
“These UAV flights began after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel,” Ryder said, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles.
Hamas militants stormed out of Gaza that day and killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israel officials.
The Israeli military has responded with a withering air, land and naval assault on Gaza which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 9,000 people, also mostly civilians.
The United States rushed military assistance to Israel following the attack and also bolstered its forces in the region with additional warships, planes air defenses and troops.
American forces in Iraq and Syria have been hit by a spike in rocket and drone attacks linked to the Israel-Hamas war this month, with the Pentagon blaming Iran-backed groups for the violence.