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US flying unarmed surveillance drones over Gaza: Pentagon spokesman

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Wahington: The United States has confirmed for the first time that it has been flying unarmed surveillance drones over Gaza. Pentagon spokesman Brig Gen Pat Ryder said the drones were operating in “support of hostage recovery efforts”. In a brief statement on Friday, he said that these unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights began after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel. The acknowledgment comes after reporters spotted UAV on flight-tracking websites.

The Pentagon’s statement said that the US is conducting unarmed UAV flights over Gaza, as well as providing advice and assistance to support Israeli partner as they work on their hostage recovery efforts. The confirmation comes after reporters spotted MQ-9 Reapers, usually operated by American Special Forces, circling Gaza on Flightradar24, a publicly available flight-tracking website. Reaper drones have previously been deployed to conduct air strikes in Afghanistan, but are primarily used as surveillance aircraft because of their ability to “loiter” above an area for more than 20 hours at a time.

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