The US will send an aircraft carrier and other ships to the eastern Mediterranean to support Israel

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The US will send an aircraft carrier and other ships to the eastern Mediterranean to support Israel

WASHINGTON —

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday he ordered the Ford aircraft carrier strike group to sail to the eastern Mediterranean to be ready to help Israel after the Hamas attack, which sparked a conflict that left more than a thousand dead. dead on both sides.

The Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, and its approximately 5,000 sailors and its fighter bridge will be joined by cruisers and destroyers in a show of force intended to be ready for any eventuality, including the possibility of intercepting weapons. destined for Hamas and surveillance work.

The massive deployment, which also included several ships and fighter jets, highlighted the United States’ concern in trying to contain the conflict. But the Israeli government formally declared war on Sunday and gave the green light to take “significant military measures” in retaliation against Hamas.

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Preliminary reports indicate that at least four Americans were killed in the attacks and seven others are missing, according to a US official. The number is constantly changing and may change again as more inquiries are made, added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss initial reports received by the US embassy in Jerusalem. Most, if not all, of those presumed dead and missing have dual Israeli and American nationality, he added.

Along with the aircraft carrier Ford, the United States will send the cruiser Normandy and the destroyers Thomas Hudner, Ramage, Carney and Roosevelt, and increase the presence of squadrons of F-35, F-15, F-16 and A- 10 fighters. plane in the region.

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“The United States maintains forces ready around the world to strengthen this deterrence posture if necessary,” Austin said in a statement.

In addition, the administration of President Joe Biden “will quickly provide the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment and resources, including ammunition. The first aid package will go out today and will arrive in the next few days,” said Austin.

The aircraft carrier strike group, based in Norfolk, Virginia, is already in the area. Last week he conducted naval maneuvers with Italy in the Ionian Sea. The aircraft carrier is on its first mission.

In a phone call on Sunday, Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed “taking hostages by Hamas terrorists, including entire families, the elderly and children,” according to a White House statement describing their conversation. Biden stressed that all countries “must come together to face such brutal atrocities.”

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