UK to conduct surveillance flights over Israel and Gaza to help find hostages

todayDecember 2, 2023 11

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UK to conduct surveillance flights over Israel and Gaza to help find hostages

The UK will conduct surveillance flights over Israel and Gaza as part of hostage rescue efforts.

The Ministry of Defence said the 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,” the ministry said in a statement.

The flights will take place over the eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza.

The MoD said the UK government had been “working with partners across the region to secure the release of hostages, including British nationals, who have been kidnapped” since the Hamas attacks on 7 October.

“The safety of British nationals is our utmost priority,” it said.

UK military was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean the week after the 7 October attacks, with RAF aircraft and Royal Navy ships sent to the region.

The military package also saw P8 aircraft, surveillance assets, three merlin helicopters and a company of Royal Marines put on standby “to deliver practical support to Israel and partners in the region, and offer deterrence and assurance”.

On Thursday, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced the UK would send one of its most lethal warships to the Gulf to deter growing threats to shipping from Iran and Iranian-backed groups.

Mr Shapps said he was beefing-up a long-standing maritime security operation in the Gulf to reduce the risk of the current crisis between Israel and Tehran-backed Hamas escalating into a regional conflict.

Written by: Newsroom

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