By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
U.S. special operations troops stationed in a European country are on a heightened state of alert in case the Pentagon calls on them to rescue American citizens held hostage in Gaza, The Messenger reported.
The troops on alert include so-called “door-kickers” capable of conducting a hostage recovery mission on their own, which could include the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s SEAL Team Six, The Messenger reported, citing two U.S. military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss national security issues. Hamas terrorists killed 14 Americans and kidnapped an unknown number amid their bloody attack on neighborhoods in Israel, President Joe Biden confirmed at a briefing Tuesday.
But, at this point, there is nothing to indicate the special operations troops will be ordered to infiltrate Hamas-controlled territory to exfiltrate the hostages, The Messenger reported, citing the unnamed sources.
Biden also dispatched hostage rescue experts to advise the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on hostage recovery efforts, The Messenger reported. Members of the U.S. intelligence community as well as elements of U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command will help Israeli forces in intelligence operations.
Israel estimates that Hamas is holding between 100 and 150 people captive, including dual citizens. At least 20 Americans are missing, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday, although the exact number is unknown.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has “people on the ground” to aid Israel “with intelligence and planning” related to hostage rescue operations, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Tuesday while in Brussels for a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, according to The Messenger.
The U.S. has the ability to “rapidly deploy other resources into the region,” Austin said, according to the outlet.
Hamas has threatened to publicly execute hostages.
A senior defense official compared Hamas’ brutal tactics to those of the Islamic State group, which was known for indiscriminate violence against civilians and publishing hostage executions online.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.