Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin revealed on Sunday, a day after the Palestinian resistance initiated Operation al-Aqsa Floods, that the Pentagon is moving ships and aircraft closer to the shores of occupied Palestine in support of “Israel”.
According to a news release issued on Sunday, Austin ordered the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Normandy, and numerous destroyers to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Although no decisions or orders have been made yet, The US is exploring various options, including the possibility of using Navy ships to evacuate US citizens.
Austin stated in the news release that in addition to Navy assets, he has made efforts to strengthen U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the area.
This comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office reported earlier in the day that Netanyahu had a phone call with US President Joe Biden and obtained unwavering support from Washington.
This marked their second conversation in just under 24 hours.
“The movement of the US Aircraft Carrier does not intimidate us, and the US Administration must realize the consequences of such step,” a Hamas spokesperson said.
Flights to ‘Tel Aviv’ suspended
Earlier in the day, data from FlighAware revealed that several airlines had to cancel flights heading to “Tel Aviv” on Saturday.
By midday, approximately 15% of the flights destined for Ben Gurion International Airport, “Israel’s” primary international airport, were scrapped.
Delta Air Lines made the decision to cancel flights to and from “Tel Aviv” for the entire weekend. The airline stated that it was in the process of arranging transportation for its employees to return to the United States and would collaborate with the government to assist US citizens who wanted to come back.
Ben Gurion Airport is located just outside of “Tel Aviv”, where there were audible explosions on Saturday. Some flights were rerouted to alternative airports, as indicated by FlightRadar24.
American airlines also temporarily halted flights to and from “Tel Aviv” for both Saturday and Sunday. The airline stated that it would maintain vigilant oversight of the situation and adapt its plans as necessary.
In the same context, United Airlines Flight 954, en route from San Francisco to “Tel Aviv”, reversed its course to the United States early on Saturday. United Airlines announced that it would temporarily cease its operations in “Tel Aviv” after completing its two planned departures from the airport on Saturday.
German, British, and French airlines have also reportedly suspended their flights.