US drones fly over Gaza searching for hostages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is flying reconnaissance drones over the Gaza Strip searching for hostages taken by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) when the Palestinian movement attacked Israel on October 7, two US officials said on Thursday.

The two US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States was flying drones to gather intelligence over Gaza to assist in efforts to locate the hostages. One official said they had been conducting drone flights for more than a week.

US officials said ten Americans still missing may be among more than 200 people taken hostage in Gaza, where they are believed to be held in Hamas’ vast tunnel network.

Israeli forces on Thursday surrounded Gaza City – the main city in the Gaza Strip – in their attack on Hamas, which resisted hit-and-run attacks from underground tunnels.

The city, located in the northern Gaza Strip, became the focus of an attack by Israel, which pledged to eliminate the leadership structure of the Islamic movement and asked civilians to flee to the south.

Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, killing 1,400 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials, in the bloodiest day in the country’s 75-year history.

Israeli retaliatory bombing and ground assault on the small Palestinian enclave of 2.3 million people killed at least 9,061 people, according to Gaza health authorities.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idris Ali – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Michael Perry

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