Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. Department of Defense’s plan on Saturday evening to further “bolster regional deterrence efforts” in the Middle East amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, reiterating the department’s defense of Israel.
In a press release, the secretary said that the plan comes following “detailed discussions” with President Joe Biden.
The secretary said that USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group will join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which was recently moved to the Eastern Mediterranean following the unprecedented assault on Israel from Hamas terrorists.
Secretary Austin said that the warships will “further increase our force posture and strengthen our capabilities and ability to respond.”
Austin said that the DOD has deployed their anti-ballistic missile defense system, called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery, as well as additional Patriot battalions “throughout the region.”
Without sharing an exact number, Austin said that he has an “additional number of forces on prepare to deploy,” to “increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required.”
“I will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary,” the Defense Secretary concluded.
President Biden has aggressively affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself in the wake of Hamas’ surprise attack.
At least 5,600 people have been killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and 32 Americans.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims at least 4,137 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank and more than 13,162 wounded.
At least 11 Americans are feared to be held captive by Hamas.