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UK to deploy Royal Navy ships to eastern Mediterranean to ‘bolster security’

The UK will send two Royal Navy ships and surveillance aircraft to the eastern Mediterranean with the aim of “reinforcing security”, No 10 says.

It comes after six days of violence following the surprise attack on Israel by Hamas.

The plane will begin patrolling on Friday to “track threats to regional stability, such as the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups.”

Three Merlin and Royal Marines helicopters will also be sent.

The government is also arranging flights for British citizens stranded in Israel. The first plane was expected to leave Tel Aviv on Thursday, but as of Friday morning it had not yet left.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said the situation around the departure was “fluid” and that “work was currently underway to ensure the flight can take place as soon as possible.”

Rishi Sunak spoke to Israel’s Prime Minister on Thursday to reaffirm the UK’s support.

His call to Benjamin Netanyahu was aimed at “reaffirming the UK’s strong support for Israel following the appalling Hamas terrorist attack”, Downing Street said.

Number 10 added that military assistance would be “deployed in the coming days to strengthen security across the region” and reiterated that the UK “stands alongside Israel in the fight against terrorism”.

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said the ships were not warships but “ships that can help with hospital facilities.”

He told BBC Breakfast that sending the ships was also aimed at “deterring others from getting involved in the region” and “smearing outside influence”.

When asked about Israel’s response to the attacks, the defense secretary said that “Israel has the right to defend itself” and added that, “unlike Hamas,” it was warning “that it is coming after the Hamas terrorists,” which Which was the right thing to do. .

Sunak spoke to Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday morning to discuss the importance of opening the Rafah crossing into Gaza to allow humanitarian access and provide a route for Britons and other citizens to leave.

The prime minister has called for military teams to be strengthened in Israel, Cyprus and across the region to support contingency planning, Downing Street said.

Speaking on Thursday, he said UK military and diplomatic teams across the region would support international partners to “restore security and ensure humanitarian aid reaches the thousands of innocent victims of this barbaric attack by Hamas terrorists.” “.

More on Israel’s war in Gaza

Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on Saturday, killing at least 1,300 people and taking around 150 hostages to Gaza.

More than 1,300 people have also been killed in Gaza since Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes.



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