• The Pentagon ordered a second US Navy carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean.
  • USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and several other vessels will join a group of ships already in the area.
  • The US says its force posture is meant to support Israel and prevent the war with Hamas from spreading.

The Pentagon has dispatched a second US Navy carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean in a move that will deliver additional American firepower to the waters near Israel as fears mount that its war with Hamas could worsen and spiral into a regional conflict.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is moving into the area “as part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement on Saturday. The strike group includes the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, and guided-missile destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason.

“The increases to US force posture signal the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war,” Austin said.

USS Eisenhower and its accompanying surface ships left the US on Friday as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to participate in exercises in the US European Command (USEUCOM) area of responsibility which, in addition to Europe, includes parts of Asia, the Middle East, and the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

Washington was reportedly considering sending the Eisenhower’s carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean earlier this week, but no formal decision had been made at that time.