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The UK has decided to deploy RAF aircraft and Royal Navy ships to Israel in response to recent Hamas attacks.
Over the next 24 hours, RAF aircraft will initiate patrols, while the eastern Mediterranean will see the arrival of two ships, RFA Lyme Bay and RFA Argus. A more comprehensive Royal Navy task group will position itself in the same region the following week.
The military’s complete approach will incorporate P8 aircraft, surveillance assets, and three Merlin helicopters, alongside a contingent of Royal Marines, all with the intent “to deliver practical support to Israel and partners in the region, and offer deterrence and assurance.”
Expressing the importance of this operation, Rishi Sunak mentioned the need to promote regional stability and thwart further escalations, noting that they aim to “ensure humanitarian aid reaches the thousands of innocent victims” and avoid the recurrence of the “horrific scenes” observed this week due to Hamas.
In the aftermath of the surprise assault by Hamas on Saturday, the death toll has reached 1,300 Israelis and 1,417 Palestinians, which includes 447 children. Gaza’s basic amenities such as electricity, water, and fuel have been interrupted. Israel insists on holding the blockade until Hamas releases close to 100 hostages.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has arranged evacuation flights for British nationals in Israel, with the initial plane, earmarked for “vulnerable” individuals, anticipated to depart imminently. An immediate deployment team is en route to provide aid to Britons in the region. Domestically, an additional £3m has been allocated to reinforce security at Jewish schools, given recent safety concerns.
This comes as the Community Security Trust (CST) reported a 324% surge in antisemitism instances in the past four days.