U.S. to Move Carrier Strike Group, F-35 Fighters Close to Israel

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 04:10 AM, October 9, 2023
  • 779
U.S. to Move Carrier Strike Group, F-35 Fighters Close to Israel
@Israel Defense Forces

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Sunday that he has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be prepared to assist Israel following the recent Hamas attack, which has resulted in over 1,000 casualties on both sides.

Just a few hours ago, more than 250 music lovers lost their lives at the Supernova festival, held in the southern Israeli desert, when Palestinian militants stormed the festival and opened fire in a surprise attack. A siren sounded at dawn, warning of incoming rockets, followed swiftly by gunshots, according to eyewitnesses.

On October 9, the Israeli military reported that Hamas was holding hostages in Gaza, and the conflict had resulted in more than 700 casualties, with over 2,150 people injured. Additionally, 3,284 rockets were fired from Gaza.

Secretary Austin stated that he spoke with Israeli Minister of Defense Gallant to express the United States' support for the people of Israel and to receive updates on Israel's efforts to restore security and safety following the Hamas attack.

The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy's newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, will lead this mission, accompanied by cruisers and destroyers, including the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG60) and the Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). They will be deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean in proximity to Israel.

The carrier strike group, based in Norfolk, Virginia, was already in the Mediterranean last week, conducting naval exercises with Italy in the Ionian Sea. This deployment marks the carrier's first full deployment.

In addition to the carrier strike group's repositioning, Secretary Austin plans to increase the presence of Air Force squadrons with F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, F-15, F-16, and A-10 tactical aircraft in the region, as per the secretary’s statement.

Secretary Austin reiterated the unwavering support of the United States for Israel's right to self-defense and provided updates on U.S. actions in response to the situation. He emphasized that these measures are aimed at strengthening the U.S. military posture in the region to enhance regional deterrence efforts.

He also informed Minister Gallant that the United States is sending additional equipment and resources, including munitions, to arrive in Israel in the coming days.

Both leaders agreed to remain in close contact in the days and weeks ahead.

Hamas is recognized by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization and governs Gaza, a territory that the State Department considers occupied by Israel.

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