UK drones reportedly helping Israel to find Gaza captives

US, UK, and Israeli drones are flying in huge numbers over the Gaza Strip [Getty]

British and American officials and drones are assisting Israel in efforts to find captives held by Hamas in Gaza, an Israeli official told The New York Times on Monday.

The official said drones operated by the UK and US have gathered information that Israeli drones haven’t been able to, mostly because of the huge numbers of US drones flying over Gaza.

The high numbers of US and UK drones mean that more of the Gaza Strip can be monitored for longer periods of time, the UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported.

British military and intelligence officials are also reportedly tracking the movement of Israeli hostages in Gaza, trying to find patterns that will establish “windows of opportunity” to rescue the captives, The Telegraph added.

Israel managed to rescue four hostages last Saturday while conducting a brutal massacre in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip which killed at least 251 Palestinians.

However, there are still presumed to be at least 120 Israeli captives held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza, at least 41 of whom are thought to have died.

Following the surprise Hamas attack on southern Israel on 7 October, US and Israeli intelligence and military officials formed a “fusion cell” to share satellite and drone imagery of Gaza and intercepted communications which could find hostage locations, The New York Times said.

British and American drones and officials are “part of the largest intelligence effort ever conducted in Israel, and probably ever”, Avi Kalo, an Israeli reserve officer who once headed a military intelligence department told The New York Times.

However, they have had little success so far in finding the hostages with  many killed by Israeli artillery fire or airstrikes.

Israel has so far refused to agree to a ceasefire deal presented by US President Joe Biden at the end of last month that would see remaining hostages released.

“Hamas still has dozens of hostages, the vast majority of whom, if not all, will not be released in operations, but can be rescued only as part of a cease-fire deal,” Kalo added.

Israel’s indiscriminate war on Gaza has so far killed at least 37,124 Palestinians and injured¬†84,712 since it began in October.

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