The US might deploy a second aircraft carrier to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to support Israel’s attack on Gaza, two Pentagon officials told POLITICO on Tuesday.
In the wake of the Hamas attack on southern Israel, the US announced that it was deploying the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and its strike group, which arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday.
The Pentagon officials said that the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and its strike group, which includes several other warships, were already scheduled to leave Norfolk, Virginia, this week and that it might be ordered to also deploy near Israel. The Pentagon said that the Eisenhower could leave on Friday and arrive in the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of October.
A double aircraft carrier deployment would be a massive show of force in the region and could risk escalating the situation. Some Shia factions in Iraq have threatened attacks on US bases in the country if the US “intervenes” to support Israel against Hamas. Yemen’s Houthis have also said they could take action against the US if it intervenes in the conflict.
The US has sent more weapons to Israel and offered to provide intelligence and planning support for Israel’s expected ground invasion of Gaza, but so far, there’s no indication of the US directly entering the war with troops or direct airstrikes. If the US took the step of direct intervention, it would mark a dramatic escalation of US support for Israel.