The US has sent a team of hostage rescue experts to advise the Israeli military on a potential rescue of the 150 hostages violently abducted by Hamas terrorists and taken across the border to Gaza during a surprise attack on south Israel, according to a report.
A small group of US special operations forces is also working with the Israel Defense Forces in response to the bloody Hamas ambush that killed more than a thousand people in Israel, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday.
The team is helping the IDF with “planning and intelligence,” Austin told reporters who were traveling with him to Brussels this week.
“We also have the ability to rapidly deploy other resources into the region,” he added.
Special ops teams in a European country not far from Israel have been placed on alert and are at the ready if needed, two senior US military officials told The Messenger.
The troops are “door-kickers” with the ability to go into enemy territory to rescue hostages themselves, said the sources, who were granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive national intel.
Several Americans who were abroad in Israel at the time of the Hamas invasion are expected to be among the hostages in Gaza, though President Biden has not yet released any official count.
On Monday, Hamas threatened to kill one prisoner for every Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip.
The retaliatory strikes have killed roughly 950 people, including 260 children and 230 women, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
The US, however, has no current plans to dispatch such teams on the ground in Israel, according to the sources.
In the meantime, the country has sent advisors with the US intelligence community to aid an American special operations team assigned to the US Embassy in Israel, the officials told the publication.
The Pentagon has a “liaison cell” in Israel working with Israeli special operations forces, Austin said.
The US has also deployed munitions and air defenses to Israel since the Hamas attack that also killed at least 14 Americans.
US Central Command officials said the deliveries are meant to deter any other enemies of Israel, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran, from taking advantage of the situation.