U.S. sends warships to eastern Mediterranean to support Israel against Hamas

The U.S. has deployed a carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean in a show of force and support for Israel, which is facing a multi-front attack from Hamas. The move comes after President Biden and Defense Secretary Austin spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and expressed their solidarity with the Jewish state.

U.S. aircraft carriers and warplanes ready to assist Israel

The Pentagon announced on Sunday that it has ordered the USS Gerald R. Ford, the largest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the world, and its accompanying cruisers and destroyers, to sail to the eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel. The carrier strike group was already in the region, conducting naval exercises with Italy in the Ionian Sea.

The U.S. also said it will augment its Air Force fighter aircraft squadrons in the region, and airlift additional munitions to Israel. The U.S. military assets are meant to deter further aggression from Hamas and Iran and to provide surveillance, intelligence, and logistical support to Israel if needed.

U.S. sends warships

Defense Secretary Austin said he directed these steps “to strengthen Department of Defense posture in the region to bolster regional deterrence efforts” in response to Hamas’ attack on Israel. He also spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Gallant and expressed his support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

Hamas launches unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza and Lebanon

The U.S. military deployment comes after Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on Saturday, firing hundreds of rockets from Gaza and Lebanon into southern and northern Israel. The attack killed at least 600 people in Israel, including several U.S. citizens, and injured thousands more.

Hamas also claimed responsibility for infiltrating Israel through tunnels and taking several Israeli soldiers hostage. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declared war on Hamas and vowed to respond with “full force” to the attack. He also accused Iran of being behind Hamas’ aggression and supplying it with weapons and funds.

Israel has been conducting airstrikes on Gaza since Saturday, targeting Hamas’ military infrastructure, rocket launchers, and commanders. According to Palestinian sources, more than 300 people have been killed in Gaza, mostly civilians, and thousands have been displaced by the Israeli bombardment.

International community calls for ceasefire and de-escalation

The international community has expressed alarm over the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, and called for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation of tensions. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the crisis, but failed to agree on a joint statement due to opposition from the U.S., which said it was working bilaterally with Israel and other parties to restore calm.

President Biden also spoke with Egyptian President Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Qatari Emir Tamim on Sunday, urging them to use their influence with Hamas to stop the rocket attacks on Israel. He also reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his commitment to advancing peace and security in the region.

However, some countries have condemned Israel’s actions as disproportionate and excessive, and accused it of violating international law and human rights. Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and several Arab and Muslim countries have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinians and denounced Israel’s “brutal” attacks on Gaza. They have also called for international intervention to protect the Palestinian people and end the Israeli occupation.

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