SAS troops 'on high alert and ready to assist' Israeli special forces to rescue British hostages

18 October 2023, 16:17

SAS troops 'are on high alert and ready to help'
SAS troops 'are on high alert and ready to help'. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

SAS troops are believed to be on high alert and ready to be deployed to Gaza to rescue British hostages.

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The special forces unit have been working with their counterparts in the US and Israel to gather intelligence, military sources claimed.

It comes after a Foreign Office minister said earlier this week that Britain is doing "everything" possible to save up to 10 British hostages believed to be held by Hamas.

A total of 199 hostages are thought to have been taken but Hamas claims another 50 are being kept by other groups.

A UK special forces source told the i: "It is understood that events in southern Israel have triggered a change in the readiness of UK special forces.

"An SAS squadron on a training operation had last week finished its detachment several days early as part of unspecified deployment plans."

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But there are concerns that a rescue mission could "end in disaster" due to the "confusion" in Gaza.

SAS veteran Chris Ryan said he "wouldn't be surprised" if special forces were preparing for the operation.

"Hostage rescue is something the SAS is probably the best in the world at but this situation in Gaza is unique, in terms of trying to locate the hostages and find safe passage out," he told MailOnline.

"There's a lot of confusion with what's going on over there right now. Finding the right stronghold where hostages are being held will be tough - then you have to safely move to that location, find the hostage, then leave.

"From a planning perspective, it will a complete and utter nightmare. It could end in disaster."

It comes after Downing Street said that at least seven Brits had been killed and nine remained missing following Hamas' brutal attack on Israel.

"I can sadly confirm that at least seven British nationals have been tragically killed," a spokesperson said.

"A further nine British nationals are missing, some of whom are feared to be among the dead."