US moves carrier strike group closer to Israel after war declaration

BY MIRANDA NAZZARO THEHILL.COM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday a U.S. carrier strike group has moved closer to Israel in response to the onslaught of attacks from Palestinian militant group Hamas that have killed hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians, including reports that some of those who died were U.S. citizens.

The Ford carrier strike group will be moved closer to the Eastern Mediterranean to “bolster regional deterrence efforts,” in the wake of Palestinian militant group Hamas’s multifaceted attacks on Israel, Austin said.

The Ford carrier strike group includes the USS Gerald R. Ford, the U.S. Navy’s most advanced aircraft carrier, along with multiple missile cruisers and missile destroyers. Austin said the Department of Defense is also taking steps to bolster the U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft squadrons in the region, with the U.S. maintaining other ready forces around the globe to reinforce those in the Eastern Mediterranean as needed.

“Strengthening our joint force posture, in addition to the material support that we will rapidly provide to Israel, underscores the United States’s ironclad support for the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli people,” Austin said. Hamas launched the largest attack on Israel in decades early Saturday, sending forces into multiple Israeli towns by land, sea and air, along with a barrage of rocket strikes in a surprise offensive. More than 1,000 people were killed, and thousands of others were injured.

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