Australia is dispatching a “significant contingent” of troops and two aircraft to the Middle East amid the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.
Defense Minister Richard Marles said Australia is deploying additional Australian defense force personnel and two aircraft to the Middle East region as part of “Operation Beech.”
“The deployment of Australian aircraft and supporting Defense personnel is a precautionary measure to support the whole of Australian government contingency options due to the risk of the security situation deteriorating further,” he said on X, calling the situation “challenging and rapidly evolving.”
The two aircraft and troops will join Australia’s aircraft deployed in the Middle East. The minister did not reveal where the contingent will be based in the region.
Canberra has expressed its support to Israel, triggering backlash in Australia which has seen mass protests against Tel Aviv’s war on Gaza.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Thursday that Australia will provide an additional $15 million in humanitarian assistance for civilians affected by the conflict in Gaza, the West Bank, and across the region.
The conflict in Gaza began when the Palestinian group Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood -- a multi-pronged surprise attack on Oct. 7 that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air.
Hamas said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched a relentless bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
More than 7,900 people have been killed in the conflict, including at least 6,546 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.
Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been running out of food, water, medicine, and fuel, and aid convoys allowed into Gaza have carried only a fraction of what is needed.
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