SAS troops on 'high alert' to rescue Brit hostages held by Hamas

SAS troops ‘are on high alert and ready to help’ Israeli special forces rescue up to 10 British hostages held in Gaza by Hamas

  • Troops from the elite squad are working alongside US and Israeli special forces 
  • They could be scrambled to rescue the British hostages held captive by Hamas 
  • But veteran SAS legend Chris Ryan feared the mission would be a ‘nightmare’  

Soldiers from Britain’s elite SAS are on ‘high alert’ to launch a daring mission to rescue up to 10 British hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, it has been claimed.  

Security and military sources say personnel from the ‘Who Dares Wins’ regiment are now working alongside Israeli and US special forces teams on collecting intelligence to find hostages before launching an operation into Palestine.

It comes amid concern from veteran SAS troops that a rescue mission could ‘end in disaster’ due to the ‘confusion’ in Gaza, with one telling MailOnline: ‘It will be a complete and utter nightmare.’ 

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.’

Soldiers from Britain’s elite SAS are on ‘high alert’ to launch a daring rescue mission to save up to 10 British hostages held by Hamas in Gaza (pictured is an SAS trooper)

Security and military sources say personnel from the Who Dares Wins regiment (pictured) are now working alongside Israeli and US special forces team

The SAS are reportedly working with US and Israeli special forces in locating the hostages. Pictured: Feared operators from Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal team

The claim came as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed the UK Government believed up to 10 Brits were being held captive by Hamas militants, with Downing Street adding at least seven Brits have been killed since the fighting began.

UK SAS legend Chris Ryan said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if British special forces were preparing for the daring rescue operation.  

He claimed the crack squad of operators could launch by helicopter from the UK’s military base in nearby Cyprus or from one of two British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships stationed in the Mediterranean. 

READ MORE: How Israel’s feared SAS unit will be unleashed against Hamas: Elite force which is feared and respected worldwide (in part thanks to daring raid involving Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother) could be set to add more honours to its gilded pedigree

But the survivor of the Gulf War’s infamous Bravo Two Zero mission told MailOnline any such rescue operation would be fraught with danger.

‘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 added.

‘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. ‘

Israeli officials say 199 hostages are being held in Gaza but Hamas has claimed it has captured 200 with a further 50 detained by other groups in the Palestinian territory.

While the vast majority of hostages are Israeli, citizens from around 30 nations are believed to have been captured with 20 Americans and eight Germans among those unaccounted for.

Since 2011, the UK special forces have reportedly been used on just three hostage rescue missions – in Kenya, Nigeria and Yemen. 

Mr Ryan, who served 10 years in the SAS between 1984 to 1994, claimed it was unlikely British troops would be in Israel right now.

‘I can’t see there will be boots on the ground in Israel right now,’ he added. ‘They [the SAS] could be very close by to striking. They could be sitting in Cyprus to mount from there.

‘I couldn’t really see a ground-mounted assault. It would have to come in via an airbourne helicopter.’ 

Chris Ryan, who served in the SAS for a decade, said any rescue mission would be fraught with danger 

SAS personnel are reportedly preparing a rescue operation. Pictured is one of the troopers on operations in the Middle East 

SAS troopers are reportedly preparing to rescue British hostages held in Gaza by Hamas terrorists (pictured is smoke rising from Gaza City on October 18)

The SAS is reportedly working with Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal force and the US Delta Force to collect intelligence that could lead to hostage rescue attempts. 

Hostages have been held as human shields in tunnels, apartments buildings and military bases to deter Israeli attacks while a disturbing video appeared to show Hamas holding up kids and toddlers following their deadly attack.

Justin Crump, military veteran and chief executive of security and intelligence group Sibylline, told the i: ‘The way that Hamas is holding the hostages looks like they’ve scattered them over the territory of Gaza very widely.’

He added Hamas militants will be trying to keep hostages alive planning to use them as ‘bargaining chips’ in negotiations with Israel.

Vessels from the RFA, the civilian wing that supports the Royal Navy, and RAF surveillance planes have been sent to the eastern Mediterranean in response to the conflict. It’s understood a team of Royal Marines are also based on the RFA ships.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the vessels are not warships but ‘ships that can assist with hospital facilities’.  He insisted the UK’s actions were about monitoring the crisis and acting ‘as a deterrent in the wider region’.

A spokeswoman for the MoD said: ‘It is the longstanding policy of successive governments not to comment on speculation about special forces.’

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