GAZA: The US defence secretary stated that the US has ordered a second carrier strike group and air force fighter jets to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to demonstrate its firm support for Israel which is preparing for a ground assault on Gaza.
Additionally, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin disclosed that the warships are a representation of the US commitment to maintaining Israel’s security rather than being involved in Israel’s operations or the combat in Gaza.
The deployments highlight the US goal of deterring any actions, whether from states or non-state actors, that could further escalate the conflict.
The movements are “part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel,” Austin said in the statement, CNN reported.
The USS Dwight D Eisenhower strike group will now join the USS Gerald R Ford, the first carrier strike group, that arrived in Israel last week.
Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops prepared on Sunday for a ground assault on the region as the country has vowed to annihilate the Hamas fighters in retaliation for a rampage in which its fighters stormed through Israeli towns eight days ago.
Prior to carrying out a ground assault, Israel ordered over one million Palestinians in the northern region of Gaza to evacuate and relocate to the south.
As a result, humanitarian organisations expressed deep concerns over the impending crisis that may ensue.
Biden reiterates “unwavering” support for Israel
Additionally, as the Israel-Gaza war escalates, US President Joe Biden called Netanyahu and, while reiterating “unwavering” support for Israel, discussed international coordination to ensure innocent civilians have access to water, food and medical care.
The White House stated that the leaders discussed US coordination with international partners, such as the UN, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel, to ensure that innocent civilians in the region have access to essential necessities like water, food, and medical care.
This combination of images shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left), US President Joe Biden (centre) and Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. — Reuters/Files
Biden also spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who stressed the urgent need to allow urgent humanitarian aid corridors in Gaza.
During the conversation, Biden condemned Hamas’ actions, characterising them as a brutal attack on Israel and expressed his belief that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people’s desire for dignity and self-determination.
Furthermore, President Biden pledged “full support” to the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to provide humanitarian aid, particularly to those in Gaza.
More than 1,300 people were killed as a result in Israel. Health officials in Gaza have reported that Israel’s response has led to over 2,200 casualties, with a significant proportion being civilians.
In a call with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasised the importance of adhering to the laws of war, including obligations to protect civilians, and addressed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.
‘Situation is catastrophic’
Alarm has grown over the fate of Palestinian civilians in blockaded and besieged Gaza – one of the world´s most densely populated areas, home to 2.4 million — if it becomes the scene of intense urban combat and house-to-house fighting.
Aid agencies have said forcing Gazans to move is impossible while the war rages.
But with food, water, fuel and medical supplies running low because of an Israeli blockade, aid agencies are warning of a deepening humanitarian crisis. “The situation is catastrophic,” said Jumaa Nasser, who travelled from Beit Lahia in northern Gaza with his wife, mother and seven children.