US commandos are in Israel to help with efforts to locate hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas onslaught, The New York Times reports.
The report quotes Christopher P. Maier, an assistant secretary of defense, telling a Washington conference: “We’re actively helping the Israelis to do a number of things.”
He says the main task is to assist in the work to “identify hostages, including American hostages. It’s really our responsibility to do so.”
Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity tell the newspaper that several dozen US Special Operations forces have been sent, in addition to a team that was already in Israel for training.
As well as helping locate hostages, the US troops will also be used for evacuations and to secure embassies in the region if necessary.
The report says several Western countries have secretly moved special forces closer to Israel to help with the potential rescue of hostages, or for large-scale evacuations from Israel or Lebanon if the fighting widens.