By John Ensor •
Updated: 16 Oct 2023 • 13:07
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
On the day when a former leader of Hamas has called for a global ‘Day of Jihad’ the UK government has backed up its words and pledged military support for Israel.
On Friday, October 13, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the deployment of UK military assets to the Eastern Mediterranean, to reinforce Israel and ensure regional stability.
Royal Air Force surveillance planes have commenced patrols, aiding allies in identifying potential threats to peace, notably the illicit transfer of arms to extremist factions.
A Royal Navy group is set to arrive in the eastern Mediterranean next week, poised to assist in humanitarian missions. This military ensemble, comprising P8 planes, observation assets, two Royal Navy vessels – RFA Lyme Bay and RFA Argus – three Merlin helicopters, and a Royal Marines unit, stands ready to provide tangible aid to Israel and its regional allies, serving both as a deterrent and a reassurance.
Sunak has also instructed a ramp-up of military teams in Israel, Cyprus, and neighbouring areas. This move aims to support contingency strategies and aid neighbouring nations in managing any repercussions from Israel’s instability.
In a conversation with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to assist civilians exiting Gaza. He expressed gratitude to President al-Sisi for Egypt’s role in aiding British citizens in the region.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated: ‘We must be unequivocal in making sure the types of horrific scenes we have seen this week will not be repeated. Alongside our allies, the deployment of our world class military will support efforts to ensure regional stability and prevent further escalation.
‘Our military and diplomatic teams across the region will also support international partners to re-establish security and ensure humanitarian aid reaches the thousands of innocent victims of this barbaric attack from Hamas terrorists.’
The PM is scheduled to discuss the Israeli situation with northern European leaders at the Joint Expeditionary Force summit in Sweden. The dialogue will revolve around the importance of collaborating with Middle Eastern allies to bolster stability, while concurrently supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Additionally, during his visit to Gotland, Sweden, Sunak will inspect the British warship HMS Diamond, which is currently patrolling northern Europe to enhance regional security. He will also be briefed on the capabilities of HMS Duncan, a sister ship stationed in the Mediterranean with NATO.
This military aid package, in collaboration with existing allies in the region, underscores the UK Government’s unwavering support for Israel’s right to self-defence. It also showcases the UK’s adaptability in meeting the evolving needs of its partners.
Earlier this week, Sunak spoke with with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Defence Secretary discussed the situation with other NATO members in Brussels.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘The monstrous terrorist attacks committed by Hamas in recent days have proven why the UK must support Israel’s absolute right to self-defence and deter malign external interference. No nation should stand alone in the face of such evil and today’s deployment will ensure Israel does not.
‘The Royal Navy Task Group, RAF operations and our wider military support will be an undeniable display of the UK’s resolve to ensure Hamas’s terrorist campaign fails, whilst reminding those who seek to inflame tensions that the forces of freedom stand with the Israeli people.’
In a separate announcement, the Foreign Secretary stated that the UK would organise commercial flights to aid British nationals wishing to leave Israel.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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