Amid escalating tensions in the Gaza Strip following a major Hamas attack, the Israeli army revealed on Thursday that it has unleashed roughly 4,000 tonnes of explosives, deploying around 6,000 bombs since the weekend assault.
Israel remains unyielding in its siege of the Gaza Strip, insisting that the blockade will continue until Hamas releases all captives taken during the recent assault.
In response to the sudden surge in violence, the U.S. is rapidly increasing its military footprint in the region.
The Biden administration is concerned that the skirmish between Israel and Hamas might escalate into a broader regional conflict.
As a deterrent to groups like Hezbollah and Iran from seizing the moment, the U.S. has started positioning warships and aircraft in the area.
The forces, while currently serving a primary mission of deterrence, possess capabilities for a wider range of actions.
President Biden made his stance clear earlier this week, asserting, “We’re surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome.”
He emphasized his commitment, adding, “We’re going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.”
As a testament to the system’s efficacy, the Israel Defense Forces have reported that the Iron Dome has managed to intercept the majority of the over 5,000 rockets fired by Hamas since the onset of the latest conflict.
Raytheon, a major U.S. defense company, is responsible for producing most components of the Iron Dome missile in the U.S. The American Army also holds two of these systems in its inventory.
Moreover, the U.S. has redirected the Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group towards Israel.
This vessel, having recently concluded joint exercises with the Italian Navy, has now been rerouted to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Equipped with advanced surveillance planes and F-18 fighter jets, the carrier is both a formidable military asset and a potential humanitarian aid station with a full-fledged onboard hospital and emergency facilities.
Additionally, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group is set to depart from Norfolk, Virginia, aiming to further amplify the U.S. naval presence in the region.
White House spokesman John Kirby hinted on Wednesday that both strike groups might be retained in the region for an extended period, given the current circumstances.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force is fortifying its existing Middle East squadrons with additional A-10, F-15, and F-16 aircraft, The Associated Press is reporting.
At a recent Atlantic Council event, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall mentioned that units scheduled to return home would now remain stationed, supported by incoming replacements.
He noted the recent engagement in Syria where an Air Force F-16 neutralized a Turkish drone deemed a threat to U.S. ground operations.
Moreover, Kendall confirmed that U.S. Air Force C-17s have been operating in Israel, mainly evacuating military personnel who had arrived for an impending military drill.
On the homefront, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin disclosed the deployment of a specialized team to assist Israel in intelligence and strategic planning.
Lastly, U.S. defense manufacturers are fast-tracking existing Israeli weapon orders, particularly focusing on resupplying the Iron Dome system, vital for Israel’s defense against rocket attacks.