US resumes drone flights over Gaza in support of hostage recovery efforts

The US has now resumed drone flights over Gaza in support of Israel’s hostage recovery efforts, a Pentagon spokesperson said, after pausing them last month as part of a week-long truce between Israel and Hamas.

“In support of hostage recovery efforts, the U.S. has resumed unarmed UAV flights over Gaza, and we continue to provide advice and assistance to support our Israeli partner as they work on their hostage recovery efforts,” Pentagon spokesperson Lisa Lawrence said in a statement on Thursday.

Israel and the US had been flying surveillance drones over Gaza for weeks before the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

The British government announced on Saturday that it will also begin conducting surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean and Gaza to help locate the hostages, which include British nationals. 

“Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages,” the UK statement said, adding that “only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue.”

Israel Defense Forces said Friday that there are 136 hostages still being held in Gaza, including 17 women and children.

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