Israeli Special Forces Sayeret Matkal Preparing To Rescue Captives From Hamas Terrorists Group

Soldiers from a celebrated Israeli special forces unit are readying to rescue hostages shifted to Gaza, reports say.

The Sayeret Matkal, modelled on the British Special Air Service (SAS) regiment, has been placed on standby due to its expertise in hostage recovery, according to the Telegraph.
Its commandos were involved in previous Israeli rescue missions, including the famous 1976 Entebbe airport raid in Uganda, when its troops saved 100 Israelis from Palestinian terrorists.

Israel’s Sayaret Matkal special forces unit was modelled on the Special Air Service regiment. This photo shows Australian SAS soldiers during patrol in the Afghanistan conflict.

But even with the Sayaret Matkal’s elite soldiers and the Yamam special forces unit of Israel’s national police to call on, bringing home the hostages safely is an extremely risky task.

Commanders of the Hamas military group claim they are holding at least 130 people, including non-Israelis.

They are being held as human shields to deter Israeli attacks.

It is believed the locations of the hostages include tunnels, apartment buildings but also military bases.

One glimmer of hope for Israel’s government is that the large number of hostages means leaks about where they are being held will be likely, according to experts.
The location of some of them may even be known by Israel. But even with this information, casualties appear unavoidable.

“When you have 100 to 130 hostages, it’s not easy to hide them. I believe we will find information about locations,” Avner Avraham, a former officer with Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, said.

“But it’s very complicated, very difficult. It will take time and we will lose people, unfortunately.”

One scenario for a potential rescue mission is special forces units hunting the hostages and their captors, while Israel diverts Hamas’ focus with a major ground invasion using conventional troops.

“The operations that we’re gonna be seeing in Israel in my opinion will be conducted via the smokescreen which will be connected to the major offensive Israel is preparing for right now,” Aaron Cohen, an Israeli special forces expert, told Fox News in the US.

Elite unit and its famous missions
The Sayeret Matkal, officially known as the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, is a special forces unit founded in 1957.
“First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also tasked with counter-terrorism and hostage rescue beyond Israel’s borders,” the Israeli Defence Force website says.

Its soldiers fought in the Yom Kippur war of 1973 and the second Lebanon war of 2006.
But the most famous mission associated with Sayeret Matkal was the raid on Entebbe airport in July 1976 – perhaps the most daring Israeli military exploit ever.

Two hundred elite soldiers took part in an airborne raid on the airport in Kenya that killed the hijackers, freed nearly all the hostages and was off the ground in less than an hour.

Yonatan Netanyahu, the commander of the Sayaret Matkal during the mission and brother of the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was shot dead on the tarmac and later became a national hero.
The Sayeret Matkal was also known for being among the first military units to use the famous Israeli Uzi submachine gun.
Developed in the late 1940s, it has a folding stock and pistol-type grip for greater balance and accuracy.

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