The UK government has announced its plans to send two Royal Navy ships and surveillance aircraft to the eastern Mediterranean with the aim of strengthening regional security. Surveillance aircraft will commence patrols on Friday, tasked with monitoring potential threats to regional stability, such as the illicit transfer of weapons to terrorist organizations.
The deployment will also include three Merlin helicopters and a detachment of Royal Marines.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak engaged in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm the UK’s unwavering support. The call emphasized the UK’s commitment to Israel’s security in the wake of a terrorist attack by Hamas. The additional military support will be introduced in the near future to enhance security in the broader region and prevent any escalation of the conflict. Sunak stressed the importance of standing alongside Israel in countering terrorism, with a focus on protecting ordinary Palestinians and facilitating humanitarian aid.
According to Downing Street, he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “reaffirm the UK’s steadfast support for Israel following Hamas’ appalling terrorist attack.”
Both leaders agreed to maintain close communication and explore any further assistance the UK can offer. The Prime Minister also emphasized that the UK’s military and diplomatic teams in the region will collaborate with international partners to restore security and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to the innocent victims affected by the recent attacks.
“The additional military assistance would be deployed in the coming days to bolster security in the wider region and mitigate any attempts to escalate the conflict,” said the statement.
Mr. Sunak reaffirmed that the UK supports Israel in its battle against terrorism and concurred that Hamas should never again be free to massacre Israeli citizens.
“Noting that Hamas has enmeshed itself in the civilian population in Gaza, the Prime Minister said it was important to take all possible measures to protect ordinary Palestinians and facilitate humanitarian aid.”
Sunak also held discussions with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, highlighting the significance of opening the Rafah crossing into Gaza for humanitarian access and to provide an exit route for British and other foreign nationals. In light of recent events, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps underlined that the military aid demonstrates the UK’s commitment to thwarting Hamas’s terrorist activities.
Additionally, the Foreign Office has initiated arrangements to repatriate British citizens stranded in Israel, with the first flight departing from Tel Aviv on Thursday and more scheduled in the following days, subject to security considerations.