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US sends carrier strike group to Middle East in response to attacks on Israel

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 8, 2023 11:52 PM 2 min read
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is seen underway on its own power for the first time on April 8, 2017 in Newport News, Virginia. (Photo credit: Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
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The U.S. is sending an aircraft carrier group to the Eastern Mediterranean in response to Hamas' attack on Israel, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Oct. 8.

"Today, in response to this Hamas attack on Israel, and following detailed discussions with President (Joe) Biden, I have directed several steps to strengthen Department of Defense posture in the region to bolster regional deterrence efforts," Austin said.

"I have directed the movement of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean."

Apart from the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the group includes a missile cruiser and four missile destroyers, the official said.

According to Austin, Washington also took steps to reinforce F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region.

The U.S. pledged to provide its close ally Israel with military aid, including ammunition. The defense secretary said that the first batch of security assistance will begin moving on Oct. 8 and arrive in the "coming days."

Hamas launched an attack of unprecedented scale on Israel on Oct. 7, infiltrating Israeli territory on the ground and with ultralight aircraft while bombing Israeli settlements.

At the time of this publication, fighting in Israel and in Gaza was still underway.

U.S. President Joe Biden vowed "rock solid and unwavering" support for Israel's security. However, the media reported that Biden's administration is worried that the recent political turmoil in the House of Representatives, including the vacant Speaker seat, could hamper the approval of aid.

The U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War said on Oct. 7 that Russia will likely seek to exploit Hamas' attack on Israel to divert Western support and attention away from Ukraine.

Pro-Russian propaganda sources may try to drive a wedge in military support for Ukraine and attempt to demoralize Ukrainian society by claiming Ukraine will lose support from Western allies, the ISW analysts suggested.

ISW: Russia exploiting Hamas attack on Israel to divert support from Ukraine
Following Hamas’ large-scale attacks on Israeli territory on Oct. 7, Russian voices amplified messages blaming Western countries for neglecting conflicts in the Middle East in favor of supporting Ukraine.

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