Washington: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has confirmed that the Pentagon is moving an aircraft carrier, warships and jets to the eastern Mediterranean and will also give Israel additional equipment and ammunition in the wake of the Hamas attack on the Jewish state, which President Joe Biden termed it an an “unprecedented and appalling assault”.
In a post on X late Sunday night, Austin said: “I just spoke with Israeli Defense Minister (Yoav) Gallant to reaffirm the unwavering support of the US for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also provided him with updates on resources, including munitions, on its way to Israel to help meet urgent IDF (Israel Defense Forces) needs.”
Several American citizens were killed in the surprise land-sea-air attack on Israel by the Palestine group Hamas, a US official confirmed on Sunday. The official did not provide any further details, such as the exact number of Americans killed or their identities.
“We can confirm the deaths of several US citizens,” a spokesperson for the US National Security Council said, as quoted by news agency AFP. “We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected.”
US President Joe Biden ordered the deployment of US ships and warplanes to Israel on Sunday, signaling Washington’s “unwavering” support for its ally in the face of escalating attacks by Hamas.
The Pentagon said that under Austin’s direction, the Department of Defense is moving the “US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), 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) into the Eastern Mediterranean in proximity to Israel”.Separately, the Defense Secretary also said that the Pentagon had “taken steps to augment US Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region”, Xinhua news agency reported.