The United States has officially confirmed its deployment of unarmed surveillance drones over Gaza. The announcement was made by Pentagon spokesman Brig Gen Pat Ryder, who revealed that the drones are operating in support of hostage recovery efforts.
These unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) missions commenced following an attack by Hamas on Israel that took place on October 7th. The revelation came in response to growing speculation and observations by reporters who had spotted these drones on flight-tracking websites.
The Pentagon’s statement on Friday (03) stated, “The US is conducting unarmed UAV flights over Gaza, as well as providing advice and assistance to support our Israeli partner as they work on their hostage recovery efforts.” The usage of these drones is a significant departure from their previous role, primarily surveillance, in areas like Afghanistan, given their capability to “loiter” above a region for extended durations.
Notably, US military officials have clarified that these drones are not involved in coordinating Israeli military actions in and around Gaza. Instead, they are sharing vital information related to hostage recovery with Israeli counterparts, emphasizing a supportive rather than combative role.
Recently, the US Navy conducted a test where lethal munitions were fired from an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) in the international waters of the Arabian Sea, a significant milestone in the utilization of such technology in the Middle East.
Furthermore, the US Navy has heightened its presence in the region by deploying two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean. This move is aimed at preventing the escalation of hostilities between Hamas and Israel.
Nevertheless, it has raised concerns, with Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warning against any potential use of these ships to target his militant group. “Your fleets in the Mediterranean do not scare us and will never scare us,” said Hassan Nasrallah.