NewsArtificial intelligence leads the way in tracing 60 hostages held by Hamas

Artificial intelligence leads the way in tracing 60 hostages held by Hamas

About 220 people from Israel remain in the hands of Hamas terrorists.
About 220 people from Israel remain in the hands of Hamas terrorists.
Images source: © Getty Images | © 2023, Orange County Register/SCNG

6:14 PM EDT, October 27, 2023

A dedicated team of volunteers in Tel Aviv is on a significant mission. They are utilizing technological innovations to identify people taken hostage by Gaza Strip terrorists. Their tireless efforts have successfully "traced" 60 individuals so far.

Militants from the terrorist group Hamas claimed the lives of over 1400 people and abducted more than 220 individuals during a brutal attack on the Gaza border with Israel on October 7. Some of these hostages have unfortunately been killed in captivity, while others remain under the kidnappers' control. Only four women, including a mother, a daughter, and two elderly women aged 85 and 79, released by Hamas, have made their way back to Israel so far.

A specialized command center, fortified with artificial intelligence, is relentlessly pushing to uncover the fate of individuals still in captivity. The "Israel Times" details how volunteers run a "civilian war room," using facial recognition software to collect every bit of available information about more than 220 captives taken by the terrorists.

Eager to lend their expertise, representatives of Israeli tech startups and cyber crisis management companies have joined this crucial team effort.

"We are a civilian war room. Our main objective is to save lives. We deal with data. We collect it. We compare it. We provide it," says Rafael Franco, a 48-year-old representative from an IT company.

The Gitam BBDO communication group in Tel Aviv facilitates the process of identification. Volunteers, brimming with specialist knowledge, integrate this expertise with artificial intelligence and innovative platforms within the firm's offices.

Artificial Intelligence Spearheads the Rescue of Hamas' Hostages

The team meticulously sifts through online data, reeling in information about individuals held by Hamas and posted as missing by their relatives amidst the barrage of social media posts.

The assembled information about the hostages, along with pictures shared on social media platforms by families or friends, establishes the groundwork for further search efforts. The initiative then passes on artificial intelligence equipped with facial recognition capabilities.

With the assistance of geolocation experts, programmers, and Arabic speakers, the team determines who was seen, where, and when. They compile a list of abducted people and strive to uncover the fate of each individual. Up until now, they have successfully identified approximately 60 captives.

The tech community's endeavor in response to this hostage crisis comprises just a fragment of the wider mobilization prevalent in Israel following the atrocities of October 7. Young and older residents alike volunteer to support affected families and lend assistance to the military.

"The unity arising from this horrific event is certainly saddening but also speaks to the beauty of our country. In crisis times, we stand together," expresses Ido Brosh, a 24-year-old volunteer programmer at Gitam BBDO with specialist knowledge in military intelligence.

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