Montana GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke said Wednesday that any potential rescue mission involving U.S. special operations forces for hostages taken by Hamas would be a “considerable effort” as he reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Israel.

“When you have the number of hostages that Israel [does] — and many of them are U.S. citizens, as was reported — that is a considerable effort,” Zinke, who served as a U.S. Navy SEAL for 23 years, told Fox News Digital.

At least 150 hostages are still being held by Hamas, including some American citizens, Fox News previously reported. U.S. military advisors are consulting with Israeli special forces for potential hostage rescue missions, in an advisory capacity. 

If U.S. special operations forces step in to physically assist Israel, that effort, Zinke said, would be a “national command authority decision.”

“You know, it’s no secret SEAL Team six and select [Israel Defense Forces] forces have had a long relationship sharing tactics, techniques, procedures and an integration of units … to meet the requirements,” he said.


Zinke also outlined certain concerns that those who take part in rescuing hostages should keep in mind, such as an attack on one Hamas militant resulting in the deaths of multiple hostages.

Reaffirming his support for the country as it seeks to defend itself from Hamas attacks, Zinke said, “We need to stand behind Israel 100%.”

“What we’re talking about is decapitation of children, of terrorist aggression,” he added. “We need to stand behind Israel. I think it should be recognized that, look, this is a coordination of regional scale — where you have Hamas links with Iran, links with Chinese manufactured weapons systems, Iranian manufactured weapon systems, and now Hezbollah. This is a regional coordinated conflict, and I don’t think one should take for granted that recently you had maritime operations with Russia, China and Iran in the Persian Gulf on coordination of assets and tactics and techniques.”

The comments from Zinke came after National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that the U.S. was offering Israel “additional U.S. advice and counsel.”

“We have a lot of hostage expertise here in the United States, and we’re offering some of that expertise to Israel should they desire it and should they find that appropriate,” he told CNN.

Additionally, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said this week that the U.S. has “people on the ground” to help Israel with “intelligence and planning” when it comes to rescuing hostages captured by Hamas.

“We don’t have any fidelity on the exact number of potential American hostages,” Austin told a reporter, but added that when he spoke on Sunday with Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, he offered the assistance of “our special operators” and the American intelligence community “in planning and developing intelligence to help in this endeavor.”

“We have people on the ground that have… established contact with his operators, his special operators, and will continue to help with intelligence and planning as things go along,” Austin added.

In addition to Austin’s comments, the U.S. always has special operations forces on standby for hostage operations, with teams based out of Fort Liberty, North Carolina.

President Biden said Wednesday evening that his administration is doing “a lot” to free hostages held by Hamas during his comments to a group of Jewish leaders at the White House.

“We’re working on every aspect of the hostage crisis in Israel, including deploying experts to advise and assist with recovery efforts,” he said. “Now, the press are going to shout to me, and many of you are, that you know … what are you doing to bring these — get these folks home? If I told you, I wouldn’t be able to get them home. Folks, there’s a lot we’re doing, a lot we’re doing.”


“I have not given up hope of bringing these folks home,” he added. “But the idea that I’m going to stand here before you and tell you what I’m doing is bizarre. So, I hope you understand how bizarre I think it would be to try to answer that question.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a strong message of American solidarity in Israel on Thursday alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and revealed that the number of Americans who have died since Hamas’ attack last weekend has now climbed to at least 25 U.S. citizens.

Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.