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US moves warships closer to Israel after Hamas attack

The US says it is moving an aircraft carrier, ships and jets to the eastern Mediterranean and will also give Israel additional equipment and ammunition.

It follows the Hamas attack on southern Israel, which President Biden called an "unprecedented and appalling assault".

A US National Security spokesperson said several US citizens were among the dead.

Israel says more than 700 people have been killed and 100 kidnapped.

In Gaza, more than 400 people have been killed following retaliatory Israeli air strikes, according to Palestinian officials.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier, a missile cruiser and four missile destroyers were heading to the region. He said fighter jets would also be sent.

Further military aid to Israel would be sent in the coming days, the White House said, adding that the US was working to ensure Israel's enemies did not try to seek advantage from the situation. The large deployment reflects American concerns that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could draw in other parts of the region.

In particular, the US is eager to prevent Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement from joining the conflict. It is backed by Iran, which also funds and arms Hamas.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi has expressed support for the Hamas attack, saying Israel needed to be held to account for endangering the region. Hamas has said assistance from Iran helped it carry out its attack, which involved rockets, drones and militants on paragliders and saw hundreds of fighters break through Israeli border fortifications around the Gaza Strip.


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