Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Sunday that he ordered an aircraft carrier and other ships to the eastern Mediterranean in response to Hamas’ attack Saturday on Israel.
In a news release Sunday, Austin said, “Today, in response to this Hamas attack on Israel, and following detailed discussions with President Biden, I have directed several steps to strengthen Department of Defense posture in the region to bolster regional deterrence efforts.”
Among the U.S. crafts deployed are the Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy, as well as four Arleigh-Burke-class guided missile destroyers: USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt.
“We have also taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region,” Austin added, going on to explain that the U.S. government would be “rapidly providing the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment and resources, including munitions.”
The first security assistance to Israel will begin moving Sunday and was set to arrive “in the coming days.”
In another news release, the Pentagon provided details of a call Sunday between Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
On the call, Austin reaffirmed the United States’ “unwavering support” for the people of Israel and requested to receive updates on Israel’s operation to restore security and safety from Hamas’ terrorist attack, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Austin also updated Gallant on the U.S. ship deployment to the Mediterranean and the plan to send additional resources to Israel, including munitions, in the coming days.
“Both leaders agreed to remain in close contact in the days and weeks ahead,” say Ryder.
The announcement from the Pentagon came shortly after the White House provided a readout of a call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday.
The White House said Biden updated Netanyahu on the “intensive diplomatic engagement” undertaken by the United States in support of Israel and, like Austin, promised additional assistance in the coming days.
The two world leaders “discussed the taking of hostages by Hamas terrorists, including entire families, the elderly, and young children,” according to the White House. “The President emphasized that there is no justification whatsoever for terrorism, and all countries must stand united in the face of such brutal atrocities.”