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Pentagon to send ships, aircraft closer to Israel in show of force

The Pentagon is sending ships and aircraft closer to Israel, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Sunday in a major show of force a day after Hamas militants launched attacks across southern Israel.

Austin directed the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Normandy, and four destroyers to move to the Eastern Mediterranean, according to a press release Sunday.

In addition to the Navy assets, Austin has has also taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region, he said in the press release.

The moves were in response to the Hamas attacks on Israel and followed detailed discussions with President Joe Biden, Austin said, and intended to “strengthen Department of Defense posture in the region to bolster regional deterrence efforts.”

In addition, the DOD will also be rapidly providing the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment and resources, including munitions, Austin said. POLITICO first reported that the Biden administration was working to transfer weapons to Israel.

The first of those arms will begin moving Sunday and arriving in the coming days, Austin said.

Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a Sunday morning call that additional assistance for the Israeli Defense Forces is now on its way to Israel, with more expected to follow in the coming days, according to a White House readout of the call.

“The President again expressed deep sympathy for all those missing, wounded, and killed, and pledged his full support for the Government and people of Israel in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists,” according to the readout released by the White House.

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