Written by 19:34 World

The Other War: How Israel Scours Gaza for Clues About the Hostages

The hostages in Gaza are being moved around, with Hamas shuttling some from one apartment to another to obscure their whereabouts, while others are believed to be in tunnels underground.

All the while, at a “fusion cell” quietly formed in Israel last fall, American and Israeli intelligence and military analysts share imagery from drones and satellites, along with communications intercepts and any other information that comes their way that might offer a hint to the hostages’ locations.

More than one war is being waged in the Gaza Strip.

For the most part, the world sees the airstrikes and the ground invasion, which Israel says are aimed at dismantling Hamas and have reduced much of the territory to rubble, setting off a humanitarian crisis. But the rescue on Saturday of four hostages was a reminder that Israel and Hamas are engaged in another, less visible battle:

The militants are determined to hold on to the hostages they seized during their deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel, for use as human bargaining chips. The Israelis are determined to bring them home.

For more than eight months, the militants have had the upper hand.

Israeli and American officials say they do not know where many hostages are being held. And even when they do, in many cases, a rescue mission is simply not possible.

To date, Israel has rescued a total of seven hostages, but the stark reality is that since the war began, more hostages have died, either in the fighting or at the hands of Hamas. Israel has recovered far more bodies than living hostages.

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Last modified: 11 June 2024
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