President Joe Biden has ordered the deployment of U.S. naval assets and the provision of military aid to Israel as tensions escalate in the region due to attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The Pentagon has announced the dispatch of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, accompanied by a fleet of warships, to the eastern Mediterranean. Additionally, fighter aircraft squadrons are being bolstered in the area.
U.S. Central Command has confirmed that these ships and aircraft are already on the move to reinforce the region. The conflict has already resulted in the loss of at least four American lives, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The White House has swiftly reaffirmed its unwavering support for Israel following a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip on Saturday. They have pledged “rock solid” backing for Israel and warned other parties to stay out of the conflict.
President Biden engaged in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he conveyed that additional assistance for the Israeli Defense Forces is en route, with more to follow in the coming days. The leaders discussed ongoing efforts to prevent any opportunistic actions by enemies of Israel amid the current crisis.
President Biden further expressed his full support for the Israeli government and its people in the face of what he described as an “unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists.”
In response to the U.S. deployment, Hamas accused the United States, a significant arms supplier to Israel, of “actual participation in the aggression against our people” by moving the aircraft carrier.
This escalation marks the worst violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades. The Israeli military reports over 700 casualties on the Israeli side, while Gaza officials have reported at least 400 deaths resulting from Israeli air strikes.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has prepared his nation for what he termed a prolonged conflict, with tens of thousands of Israeli forces already mobilized to confront Hamas and prepare for a potential ground offensive in Gaza.
The intensifying situation has raised concerns of a broader regional conflict. Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement has claimed to have fired shells and missiles at Israeli positions.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has announced the dispatch of forces to “bolster regional deterrence efforts” following discussions with President Biden. In addition to the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier, this deployment includes a guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers.
Secretary Austin emphasized that the United States will rapidly provide additional equipment and resources, including munitions, to the Israel Defense Forces. He also held discussions with his Israeli counterpart on this matter, underscoring the U.S.’s unwavering support for Israel.
The United States took the lead at the United Nations Security Council in calling for condemnation of the Hamas assault on Israel. Senior U.S. diplomat Robert Wood anticipates strong condemnation from other Council members for these acts of terrorism against the Israeli people and government.
In the wake of the escalating conflict, a U.S. National Security Council spokesperson has confirmed the deaths of several Americans, while Senate Majority Leader Schumer stated that the toll is expected to rise. Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns that Americans may have been taken hostage in the attacks, characterizing the situation as a massive terrorist attack targeting Israeli civilians.
Given the gravity of the situation, state and local authorities throughout the United States, including in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, have announced increased security measures at U.S. synagogues in the coming days, although no specific threat has been identified.