American Commandos Are in Israel Serving to to Find Hostages, Pentagon Says

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American commandos on the bottom in Israel are serving to find the greater than 200 hostages seized throughout Hamas’s shock cross-border assault on Oct. 7, the Pentagon’s prime particular operations coverage official stated on Tuesday.

“We’re actively serving to the Israelis to do a variety of issues,” Christopher P. Maier, an assistant secretary of protection, informed a particular operations conference in Washington. He stated {that a} most important job was to assist Israel “determine hostages, together with American hostages. It’s actually our accountability to take action.”

Mr. Maier declined to say what number of U.S. Particular Operations forces have been at present in Israel. However different U.S. officers say the Protection Division has dispatched a number of dozen commandos in current days, along with a small staff that was in Israel on Oct. 7 conducting beforehand scheduled coaching.

The officers, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate operational issues, stated the commandos would be a part of F.B.I., State Division and different U.S. authorities hostage-recovery specialists of their discussions with Israeli counterparts.

The U.S. Particular Operations forces will not be assigned any combatant roles in Israel, however they’re speaking by with their Israeli counterparts “what will be a really advanced battle going ahead” in Gaza, Mr. Maier stated.

In his discussions together with his Israeli counterpart, Protection Secretary Lloyd J. Austin II has careworn the necessity for cautious consideration of how Israeli forces conduct a floor invasion of Gaza, the place Hamas maintains an intricate community of tunnels below densely populated areas.

“We are going to work with them as a lot as doable to assist advise them on these sorts of actions,” Mr. Maier stated.

A number of Western international locations have secretly moved small groups of their very own particular forces nearer to Israel to assist with any potential rescue operation and to be close by to help in any large-scale evacuations of their residents from Israel or Lebanon.

Mr. Maier stated U.S. Particular Operations forces within the area are additionally poised “to assist our personal residents get out of locations and to assist our embassies be safe.”