A second US aircraft carrier is heading to the Mediterranean for a "long-scheduled deployment," the White House said Wednesday amid an expected Israeli ground offensive into the besieged Gaza Strip.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its strike group is set to begin deployment in the next week, and will transit the Atlantic Ocean on its way to the Mediterranean Sea.
It is not currently planned for deployment to the eastern Mediterranean where the US has deployed the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier in a show of deterrence against additional parties joining the conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.
Kirby said the Eisenhower "will be available if needed" in the eastern Mediterranean, but said "no decisions have been made."
"No operational decisions like that have been made, but she will be heading in that direction, her ships will be with her, and she certainly will be an available asset if needed," he said.
"We're sending a loud and clear message: The United States is ready to take action should any actor hostile to Israel consider trying to escalate or widen this war. We're also going to continue to talk to our Israeli partners about their needs to ensure again that they have with what they require to defend their country and their people," he added.
Israeli forces launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip in response to a military offensive Saturday by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israel.
The conflict began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood -- a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea and air.
Hamas said it was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip in response.
That response was extended into cutting water, food, fuel and electricity to Gaza in what it describes as a "full siege," further worsening living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.