Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

RAF and Navy begin special missions in Middle East after Hamas attacks on Israel

The RAF and Royal Navy have begun missions in the Middle East to track the transfer of weapons to Hamas in the wake of attacks on Israel.

Sorties to prevent escalation are being undertaken as a task group is moved to the eastern Mediterranean to support humanitarian efforts.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We must be unequivocal in making sure the horrific scenes we have seen this week will not be repeated.

“Our military and diplomatic teams across the region will support international partners to re-establish security and ensure humanitarian aid reaches the thousands of innocent victims of this barbaric attack from Hamas terrorists.”

The Prime Minister has ordered military teams in Israel and Cyprus to be bolstered in order to deal with spillover from the conflict.

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He has also spoken with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the importance of supporting Palestinian civilians in leaving Gaza.

The military package – with two Royal Navy ships, three helicopters and a company of Royal Marines – is “supporting Israel’s right to self defence” and comes after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited Israel.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “No nation should stand alone in the face of such evil and today’s deployment will ensure Israel does not.

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“The Royal Navy Task Group, RAF operations and our wider military support will be an undeniable display of the UK’s resolve to ensure Hamas’s terrorist campaign fails whilst reminding those who seek to inflame tensions that the forces of freedom stand with the Israeli people.”

The UK has pledged to facilitate flights to get vulnerable British nationals out of Israel.

There is also expected to be a Joint Expeditionary Force summit in Sweden to discuss supporting stability in the Middle East while still supporting backing Ukraine’s defence against Russia.

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