The United States is readying its special forces to help Israel locate American hostages, as waves of Israeli Defense Force reservists arrived at JFK airport in New York to join the fight against Hamas.
Two senior U.S. military officials told The Messenger that ‘door kickers’ have been put on standby in a nearby European country, ready to assist Israel if necessary in their battle against Hamas. The Israeli death toll rose to 1,200 on Tuesday.
The military sources told the website that there was currently no indication the U.S. special forces would be sent to Israel, but they were only a few hours away by plane if need be.
The military officials would not confirm which units were being readied, but said they fell under the Joint Special Operations Command.
The two main counterterrorism units under the Joint Special Operations Command are the Army’s Delta Force, and the Navy’s SEAL Team Six – which was dispatched to kill Osama bin Laden.
Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, said on Tuesday that the U.S. had also sent hostage negotiators to help the Israeli specialists.
Twenty Americans remain missing in Israel following the weekend’s Hamas attack, including some whose relatives say they have been taken hostage.
Austin said the U.S. has ‘people on the ground’ who will assist Israeli authorities ‘with intelligence and planning’ for potential operations involving hostage rescue efforts.
The U.S. hostage negotiators will work alongside a team already in place, working out of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, The Messenger reported.
Austin said the Pentagon has a ‘liaison cell’ in Israel working with Israeli special operations forces.
Austin also said the U.S. has the ability to ‘rapidly deploy other resources into the region.’
President Joe Biden has dispatched the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford and five guided-missile cruisers and destroyers to the scene, and they arrived on Tuesday.
‘The arrival of these highly capable forces to the region is a strong signal of deterrence should any actor hostile to Israel consider trying to take advantage of this situation,’ said Gen. Michael ‘Erik’ Kurilla, who oversees U.S. Central Command.
On Sunday, Austin said that the warships would carry U.S. Air Force warplanes ‘to bolster regional deterrence efforts’ – an effort to dissuade Iran or Hezbollah from taking advantage of the conflict and joining in.
On Monday, a senior defense official said the strike group can conduct ‘a full spectrum of missions, from intelligence collection, maritime dominance, to long-range strike, will ensure the United States is postured to respond to any contingencies and minimize the risk of a wider spread conflict that would threaten stability.’
The Pentagon is looking at supplying Israel with more arms, and liaising with defense contractors to ramp up their production.
‘These posture increases were intended to serve as an unequivocal demonstration in deed and not only in words of U.S. support for Israel’s defense and serve as a deterrent signal to Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah, and any other proxy across the region who might be considering exploiting the current situation to escalate conflict,’ the official said.
‘Those adversaries should think twice.’
In New York City on Monday, crowds of IDF reservists were gathering to board planes back to Israel to join the fight.
The country has called up an unprecedented 300,000-plus reservists for what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a ‘massive attack’ on the terror group Hamas.
Some reservists danced and sang as they prepared to board their flight out of JFK.
Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines have all suspended flights to Israel amid travel advisories from the State Department, but El Al is continuing to fly. Ticket prices have soared, but charities are funding the tickets for many wanting to return and assist, The Times of Israel reported.
Noam, an Israeli man who lives in New York and served in the special forces of the IDF, told the paper he was told on Monday morning he was being called up for reserve duty.
By 1pm, he was at the airport, checking in for a 4pm flight.
‘They’re already been called up together so I’m just waiting to join them,’ he told the paper.
Another man had flown in to JFK from his home in Kansas that morning.
‘They just told us to get here, and they would take care of it,’ he said. ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we are here.’
Among them is 18-year-old Chicago high school graduate Natalie Raanan and her mother, and 34-year-old Daniel Ben Senior, whose father says she was working at the Nova musical festival when Hamas terrorists struck.
Hersh Polin-Goldberg, 23, is another American now being held captive by Hamas. His mother says he had his arm ‘blown off’ from the elbow down.
Fourteen Americans have been confirmed dead. The total number of US citizens who have been taken hostage or remain missing is more than 20, according to the State Department.
Natalie Ranaan was visiting family for the High Holidays with her mother, Judith, when the assault began on Saturday. Since then, relatives have not heard from either woman
Raanan and her mother were visiting family in Israel for the High Holidays. Their relatives
Judith Raanan was also taken hostage along with her daughter. Their family in Illinois has not heard from them since Saturday
Daniel Ben Senior, 34, was working at Nova festival on Saturday when Hamas militants attacked
‘Unfortunately, what we heard about Hersh [from eyewitnesses] is that his arm was blown off from his elbow down. He tourniqueted his own arm,’ Rachel Golberg told CNN.
This morning, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House confirmed 11 Americans have been killed.
Their names have not yet been publicly released, and the number is expected to rise.
‘We know that 11 Americans have been killed. Sadly we’re preparing for the very distinct possibility there will be more death for Americans here.
‘We also have a number of wounded and another number that are unaccounted for. We just don’t know where they are.
‘We have to accept grim possibility that unaccounted for Americans could be among those held hostage,’ National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, said during an appearance on Good Morning America on Tuesday morning.
Sagui Dekel-Chen, a 35-year-old American citizen who is among those missing
Itay Chen, a US citizen fighting in the Israeli Defense Force, who is also missing
Hersh Golberg-Polin, 23, texted his mother and father ‘I love you. I’m sorry’ at 8.11am on Saturday – as Palestinian militants declared war on Israel, took dozens of people as hostage and killed hundreds during the Jewish high holiday
Adrienne Neta, 66, is also missing. She is a nurse and midwife who moved to Israel from California in 1981
Adrienne’s son Nahal cried at a press conference today where he and the relatives of other missing Americans pleaded for information and help
The families of missing Americans in Tel Aviv today begging for information
The State Department is yet to confirm the number of Americans missing in the conflict.
Today, the families of some of those who have been taken captive held a press conference in Tel Aviv to raise awareness.
Among their missing relatives is Itay Chen, a former New Yorker serving in the Israel Defense League.
‘You would think that after 70 hours, if he’s not in the state of Israel, he might be somewhere else. He is, by definition, a POW.
‘We are asking for the US government to ask Hamas to treat him as a POW should be treated,’ his father, Rubi, said.
Hersh Golberg-Polin, 23, is also missing. He moved to Israel with his family in 2008 after first attending elementary school in Los Angeles.
Sisters Norelle and Roya Manzuri, who attended Temple Israel of Hollywood school, are missing along with Amit Cohen.
Murdered: Debbie, a Missouri native, and Shlomi Matias were killed in front of their son on Saturday
The families of missing Americans in Israel gathered at a press conference in Tel Aviv today to share their stories
Sagui Deke-Chen, 35, is also missing. His father, Jonathan, spoke at the press conference today along with the families of other US citizens taken hostage.
Adrienne Neta, 66, is also missing. Her son, Nahar, is desperately trying to find her.
He today lambasted the Israeli government for not providing any information about what is being done to find the missing.
The Biden administration says it will do ‘everything it can’ to bring the hostages home, but it’s unclear if that will extend to negotiating with Hamas.
‘We will do everything possible to get them home.
‘I don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are right now,’ Kirby said
Israel’s response to Saturday’s attack continued today with dozens of airstrikes. Hamas, a designated terrorist group, has persisted with rockets.
Today, its militants ordered residents in the town of Ashkelon to evacuate.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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