Germany has deployed elite special forces soldiers to Cyprus for a possible operation to evacuate its citizens from the Gaza Strip or Lebanon, as well as free hostages from captivity of the Palestinian group Hamas. About this with reference to sources in security circles writes Bild.
Soldiers from the Bundeswehr special forces unit and their ammunition were transferred to Cyprus. In addition, special forces of the German Navy, which are known as “combat swimmers,” are located nearby. It is clarified that they are stationed there in case the conflict grows and it is necessary to remove the Germans using a large-scale operation.
Germany has also mobilized a special unit of the federal police, which is engaged in the release of hostages. At the same time, German military transport aircraft are concentrated in the region.
“We are at a low start and are ready for any options,” the German government added.
How many people can be evacuated in the event of an operation is not specified. The Bild publication says that this is not only about hostages, but also about those Germans who worked in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon – this could be a “mid-double-digit number.”
Earlier, the German Foreign Ministry reported that at least eight German citizens were being held captive by Hamas. On October 16, the Times of Israel newspaper, citing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) wrotethat the total number of hostages of the Palestinian group has increased to 199 people.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict escalated on October 7 after Hamas attacked Israel. After this, the IDF launched Operation Iron Swords, and the government announced that the country was going into a state of war. According to the latest data, the death toll during the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has exceeded 4,000 people, more than half of them are Palestinians.
The day before, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin translated about 2,000 military personnel and a number of units are on high alert due to the situation in the Middle East. The Pentagon emphasized that no decisions were made to deploy any forces in the conflict zone.