Washington seeks to “deter hostile actions against Israel” by “any state or non-state actor”
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to deploy to the Eastern Mediterranean, as part of Washington’s effort to put additional pressure on Tehran, Lebanese Hezbollah and other pro-Palestinian regional groups not to get involved into the ongoing Israeli war with Hamas in Gaza.
The Pentagon chief announced on Saturday night that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrying nine aircraft squadrons, as well as two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser, will soon join the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier group in the region to “deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”
“The increases to US force Posture signal the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war,” Austin stated.
In a phone call with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant earlier in the day, Austin “provided updates” on Washington’s “efforts to continue flowing air defense capabilities and munitions to the Israel Defense Forces,” but also emphasized the “importance of adhering to the law of war, including civilian protection obligations, and addressing the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza while Israel continues its operations to restore security.”
The US administration has so far ruled out sending military personnel into Gaza as part of any Israeli ground invasion or attempt to free American hostages there, only aiding the IDF with intelligence and operation planning.
The escalation between Israel and Hamas began last Saturday, when the Palestinian militant group launched a surprise attack on southern Israel, which left 1,300 Israeli civilians and soldiers dead, as well as at least 120 people, including foreigners, taken hostage.
Israel responded with massive air strikes on Gaza, which have killed upwards of 2,200 Palestinians and displaced over 430,000 inhabitants of the densely-populated territory.
Israel ordered some 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to evacuate ther area, while the Israel Defense Forces said on Saturday that it is completing preparations for a “significant ground operation,” which will include a “joint and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land” in Gaza.
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