Hamas has demanded that Israel halt the surveillance drone flights over Gaza as part of their conditions for a pause in military operations to release hostages held by the group, according to two Israeli officials and a third source familiar with the ongoing negotiations.
Israeli officials, however, indicated reluctance due to potential risks, including losing track of Hamas activities and hostage movements within Gaza.
The status of this demand within the ongoing negotiations remains uncertain, with no formal confirmation of acceptance or rejection by Israel.
The Israeli embassy declined to comment, and the Israeli military heavily relies on drones for surveillance during their operations in Gaza.
The negotiations involve delicate considerations by Israel to secure hostage release without compromising its military advantage or allowing Hamas to regroup.
A cessation of drone overflights would limit the IDF’s ability to monitor Hamas movements, potentially exposing Israeli troops and altering the hiding places of the hostages.
The US has also been using surveillance drones in support of Israel’s efforts to locate the hostages, emphasizing that the gathered intelligence is not used for lethal actions.
The negotiating parties – Israel, Hamas and the US, with Qatar mediating between them – continue to grind away, as they try to reach an agreement on a number of sticking points. These include how many days a potential pause in fighting would last and the number of hostages that would be released, according to sources familiar with the talks. CNN