Home News US intelligence helps Israel free four Gaza hostages

US intelligence helps Israel free four Gaza hostages

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The United States provided intelligence about the hostages before Israel successfully rescued them on Saturday, according to U.S. and Israeli officials familiar with the aid.

A team of American hostage rescue officers based in Israel assisted the Israeli military in rescuing four hostages by providing intelligence and other logistical support, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation.

According to a senior Israeli defense official familiar with the hostage search and rescue operation, American and British intelligence collection and analysis teams have been in Israel throughout the war, assisting Israeli intelligence agencies in collecting and analyzing information related to the hostages, some of whom are citizens of both countries.

Two Israeli intelligence officials said U.S. military officials in Israel provided some of the intelligence related to Saturday’s hostage rescue.

President Biden, speaking after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, said he welcomed the “safe rescue of the four hostages and their return to Israel to be reunited with their families.”

He added: “It is vital that we do not stop our work until all the hostages are home and a ceasefire is reached.”

The Pentagon and CIA have been providing information about the possible location of the hostages gleaned from drone flights over Gaza, intercepted communications and other sources. Israeli officials say that while Israel has its own intelligence services, the United States and Britain are able to provide aerial and cyber intelligence that Israel cannot gather on its own.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan celebrated the rescue and briefly mentioned U.S. assistance.

“The United States supports all efforts to secure the release of hostages still held by Hamas, including American citizens. This includes through ongoing negotiations or other means,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Mr. Sullivan added that a ceasefire proposal currently being discussed by Hamas, Israel, Egypt, Qatar and U.S. negotiators would be a way to get the remaining hostages home.

“The hostage release and ceasefire agreement currently being negotiated will ensure the release of all remaining hostages and provide security for Israel and relief for innocent civilians in Gaza,” he said.

U.S. officials say their intelligence support to Israel has focused on the location of hostages and information about senior Hamas leaders. That’s largely because U.S. officials believe the best way to convince Israel to end the war is to recover the hostages and capture or kill senior Hamas leaders.

Israeli officials said neither the U.S. nor the British team was involved in the planning and execution of the military operation to rescue the hostages. The Israelis are hostage rescue experts and require little support in tactical planning. But U.S. and Israeli officials said outside intelligence did provide added value.

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