U.S. is sending a carrier strike group closer to Israel and will begin supplying munitions

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a joint press conference with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (not pictured), following an online meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, at the Pentagon in Washington, May 25, 2023.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The U.S. military is moving an aircraft carrier strike group and military aircraft closer to Israel as a show of support, and will also begin supplying Israel with munitions and other military supplies immediately, said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Austin said Sunday afternoon that he had directed the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to go to the Eastern Mediterranean. The group includes the carrier, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, and four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.

“We have also taken steps to augment U.S Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region,” he said. The United States will also provide additional resources and equipment to the Israel Defense Forces, including ammunition. Security assistance will be delivered in the next few days. “

“Strengthening our joint force posture, in addition to the materiel support that we will rapidly provide to Israel, underscores the United States’ ironclad support for the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli people,” said Austin. “My team will continue to work closely with our Israeli counterparts in order to make sure they have the resources they need to defend their citizens against these terrorist attacks and protect them.” According to two U.S. Officials familiar with the plans, the assets will not arrive for several days. The U.S. also is working on plans for a non-combatant escape — to help Americans leave Israel, according officials. Officials are evaluating options. One involves placing some Americans aboard Navy ships in order to bring them to safety.