Most operations of Israel's special forces Sayeret Matkal remain secret
Israel's most elite special operations force, Sayeret Matkal, is being prepped for extremely dangerous hostage-rescue missions in the Gaza Strip, British daily The Telegraph reported.
The Hamas group took over 100 Israeli hostages after launching a terror attack from land, air and sea. All the hostages have been kept at Hamas hideouts across the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
The General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, also known as Sayeret Matkal, is essentially a field intelligence-gathering unit that conducts deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines and is also tasked with counter-terrorism and hostage rescue beyond Israel's borders, according to the official website of the Israel Defence Forces, or IDF.
The Sayeret Matkal is modelled on the UK's Special Air Service, or SAS, a special forces unit of the British army known for its daring operations during the first Gulf War in 1990-91 and the rescue of hostages from the Iranian embassy in London in 1980.
Hamas has threatened to kill the Israeli hostages if Israel does not stop airstrikes in Gaza Strip. This has put pressure on Israeli leaders as families of the hostages demand their safe return as soon as possible.
Most operations of the Sayeret Matkal units have not been made public and its activities are considered to be extremely secret.
The unit was set up in 1957 at the initiative of its first commander, Avraham Arnan.
In the Yom Kippur War, the Sayeret Matkal fought mainly in Sinai and Hermon; during the First Lebanon War, the commander of the unit, Shay Avital, insisted that the unit would be an infantry unit in all aspects, according to the IDF.
During the Second Lebanon war, the unit carried out raids deep inside Lebanon.
Israel has imposed a "complete siege" on the Gaza Strip as it continues to bomb Hamas targets.
We've decided to cut the supply of water, electricity and fuel, and now their local power plant has collapsed and there's no electricity in Gaza," Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said in a statement. "We'll continue tightening the siege until the Hamas threat on Israel and the world is removed.
Israel is reeling under a brutal assault carried out by Hamas that killed more than 1,200 people in Israel. In response, a massive air assault launched by Israel has left at least 1,055 people dead in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Hamas group.