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Wartime posture: U.S. dispatches battle carrier group to Mideast, sends munitions to Israel

Biden administration hopes show a force will keep Hamas war from escalating into a regional conflict.

Published: October 8, 2023 8:43pm

Updated: October 9, 2023 12:50pm

The Biden administration on Sunday deployed a Navy aircraft carrier group and Air Force fighter jets to the Middle East and rushed munitions to Israel, hoping the show of force will deter the Hamas conflict from escalating into a regional war.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin conferred with President Joe Biden before redirecting significant military might to the eastern Mediterranean.

Austin also coordinated activities with Israeli officials throughout the day, as some Americans were killed and others taken hostage in the terrorist attack that began Saturday.

“I have directed the movement of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean,” Austin announced. “This includes the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), as well as the Arleigh-Burke-class guided missile destroyers.”

The USS Gerald R. Ford is one of the largest and newest aircraft carriers in the world.

“The U.S. maintains ready forces globally to further reinforce this deterrence posture if required,” Austin added.

U.S. officials were still trying to determine how many Americans were killed or captured by Hamas militants in southern Israel, while keeping a close eye to the north to make sure that Hezbollah does not create a significant incursion from Lebanon and turn the conflict into a regional war.

“No one elsewhere should try to take advantage of this situation,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN on Sunday. “It’s something we’re watching very carefully.”

Both Hamas and Hezbollah have close ties to Iran, and officials confirmed Sunday that Iran helped plan the surprise attack during a Jewish holiday on Saturday.

The attacks created a harrowing moment for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, who sought shelter Saturday while visiting Israel. He left the country Sunday for safety.

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