US Sending Two Carrier Strike Groups To Mideast Region, Taps Qatar To Assist Hostage Mediation With Hamas
Update(1425ET): US National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby confirmed that the United States will be sending the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier to the Eastern Mediterranean, after it was already announced that the USS Gerald R. Ford would be deployed as part of “support” operations related to the Israel-Gaza conflict.
However, Kirby said that the Eisenhower will not be directly joining or escorting. Instead, the carrier will be in the region for availability if called upon. While in a press briefing Kirby tried to downplay the dual carrier deployment as somewhat routine or expected, they will certainly be on standby to potentially intervene if all hell continues breaking loose in the Middle East.
UPDATE: NSC Spokesperson John Kirby confirms the USS Dwight D Eisenhower carrier strike group will be headed to the Mediterranean but says it will not join the USS Gerald R. Ford strike group as a second strike group, but will be available in the area if needed. pic.twitter.com/kpaAxbgXfc
— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) October 11, 2023
Kirby also confirmed that the US administration is in talks with Qatar as part of mediation efforts to free the hostages being held by Hamas. It’s believed there are Americans among the captives in Gaza, which at this moment is being pounded by Israeli airstrikes. Kirby said the following:
“Obviously, we’re in discussions not only with the Israelis, about what hostage recovery could look like, but with other allies and partners in the region. And there are some countries like Qatar that have open lines of communication with Hamas, so of course, we’re casting the net wide as you would expect, we want to get these all the hostages back with their families, particularly the American hostages, no question about that.”
MCCAUL: US SPECIAL FORCES, FBI SHOULD BE USED TO FREE HOSTAGES
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Update(1304ET): The IDF has revised its earlier alert as follows, downplaying the severity of the northern infiltration alert:
IDF spokesperson: Further to the reports of intrusion from the Lebanese border into Israel’s airspace, as of now fear of intrusion has been ruled out.
An updated headline from Times of Israel: IDF says no drone infiltration in north after scares send millions into shelters
An emergency war-time government has been formally announced in Israel:
Israel’s Netanyahu forms unity government with ex-Defense Minister Gantzhttps://t.co/SyuTAWnDTM
— Ayman Abdel Nour (@aabnour) October 11, 2023
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Update(1250ET): Israeli emergency authorities, specifically the Israeli Homefront Command, has ordered residents in the far northern town of Ma’alot-Tarshiha to stay in their homes and lock their doors, warning of possible infiltration of militants from Lebanon. The alert stayed active for a brief period Wednesday. There are current official reports of an airspace breach from Lebanon, possibly drones sent by Hezbollah:
🚨A report was recieved regarding a suspected infiltration from Lebanon into Israeli airspace.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 11, 2023
The current top headline at The Times of Israel reads:
Residents across north told to shelter as several aircraft appear to infiltrate Israel
On the other side of the border, Lebanese residents are scrambling for exit as fighting grows, and as evidence of damaged and burning homes and buildings begins to circulate:
Cross-border violence between Lebanon and Israel has escalated into a fourth day, pushing many Lebanese in southern towns to leave as Hezbollah and the Israeli military continue to trade fire.
Hezbollah said it fired precision missiles on an Israeli position across from the Lebanese town of Dharya on Wednesday, drawing retaliatory Israeli shelling that has left a number of houses damaged.
Tensions have been boiling along the Israeli-Lebanese border since Palestinian fighters launched a surprise multi-front assault on Saturday morning. The Israeli military has been heavily bombarding the Gaza Strip since, while Palestinian groups have continued to fire thousands of rockets towards Israel. At least 1,055 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have been killed.
Sirens are reportedly going off across northern Israel, amid unverified reports of major drone action:
Early reports indicate dozens of drones launched from Lebanon at Israel pic.twitter.com/sBSMox7bpK
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 11, 2023
Amid the escalating and highly dangerous (for the prospect of major, broader war) tit-for-tat Israel-Hezbollah escalation, both sides are vowing “decisive” response to deadly attacks.
News wires are now reporting that 22 Americans have been confirmed killed after the weekend Hamas terror rampage in southern Israel.
The US Embassy in Beirut is meanwhile refuting reports that it is evacuating, but is it a sign of things to come as the south Lebanon situation slides?
The U.S. Embassy in Beirut has not evacuated and is open and operating normally. Reports saying otherwise are false. For more information and travel advisories, visit our embassy website: https://t.co/QDEaP8dkZR
— U.S. Embassy Beirut (@usembassybeirut) October 11, 2023
A below review of the last hours via journalist Joyce Karam. UPDATE:
Lebanon front, Israel- Hamas war
Drones, infiltration from Lebanon
Israel fired flares
Residents in N Israel to enter shelter
Gaza hospitals full capacity
Israel gets war cabinet
Evacuations from Israel
200,000 Gazans displaced
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A worst-case scenario for Israel is emerging: the dreaded multi-front war involving Hezbollah, which is a much more formidable and better equipped paramilitary force than Hamas.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus has confirmed Wednesday Israel fired rockets into southern Lebanon for at least a second straight day, striking Hezbollah positions after the Iran-backed group struck Israeli soldiers with anti-tank missiles fired from across the border.
Bloomberg has also confirmed in a note, “Israel said an anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon hit one of its military posts near the border, news that saw investors seek haven assets like US Treasuries.” This as an Israeli ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, which is sure to be a bloody campaign, appears imminent after PM Netanyahu told Biden in a Tuesday phone call, “We have to go in. We can’t negotiate now.”
Netanyahu also previously vowed in public statements that “what we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”
Citing IDF spokesman Conricus further, Fox News underscores that Israeli is now “actively fighting a secondary front” in the north and is surging troops toward that end:
…the Israeli army shelled the Lebanese border town of Duhaira and the surrounding area where the missile attack came from. He also said Israel was actively fighting a secondary front along Israel’s northern border with Hezbollah in Lebanon, in addition to the counteroffensive the IDF is launching in the Gaza Strip.
“We have deployed tens of thousands of additional units along the northern border,” Conricus said, including infantry, special forces, armored forces, artillery, air forces, and “additional assets including intelligence and logistics.”
Cross-border shelling has occurred since Sunday, leading to multiple casualties among Hezbollah members and possibly other Islamic factions. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has also had a presence there and has taken casualties. The IDF said, “The message to Hezbollah is very clear: ‘If they try to attack, we are ready and we are vigilant on our border.’”
At least one “Israeli senior officer” has been killed at the northern border since the exchange of fire has increased. Another two Israeli troops have also been confirmed killed. Hezbollah has claimed to have wounded and killed a “large number” of Israeli troops.
Al Jazeera wrote Tuesday that “At least three Hezbollah members, an Israeli senior officer and two Palestinian fighters have been killed so far in the cross-border fighting.”
And the IDF has confirmed: “In Southern Lebanon, Hezbollah have already fired anti-tank missiles and rockets at our positions and soldiers, fortunately without any significant casualties,” Conricus said. “There has already been an attempt of Islamic jihad terrorists infiltrating into Israel. That attempt was successfully thwarted by the IDF, sadly at the cost of a senior [IDF] officer and two other soldiers.”
Hezbollah has meanwhile issued a fresh statement saying it sees the United States as a direct accomplice in Israel’s killing of Gazans, as the Israeli air war continues, with Palestinian deaths on Wednesday approaching 1,000 after four straight nights of unprecedented bombardment.
Hezbollah issues a statement saying the United States is a ‘full partner’ of Israeli ‘aggression’ on the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah also says that it holds the United States fully responsible for the airstrikes that are killing civilians in Gaza.
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) October 11, 2023
“At least 950 people, including at least 140 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry,” CBS reports. ‘The ministry said in a social media post that at least 5,000 more people in the blockaded Palestinian territory were wounded, most of them women and children.”
Dangerously, and amid fears of a broader regional conflagration, Syria launched missiles on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which didn’t appear to do significant damage. However, Israel has reportedly released an emergency statement for settlements in the area: “Instructions have been given to residents of the Golan to stay near shelters.” Israel says it is forming an emergency war-time government.
ISRAEL PLANS TO ANNOUNCE EMERGENCY GOVT TONIGHT: ISRAEL RADIO
Iran’s Supreme Leaders has issued fresh threats, even while asserting it didn’t have a direct hand in the Saturday Hamas terror rampage into Southern Israel:
The Zionist regime wants to justify the mass murder of the people in #Gaza by attempting to show itself as the victim.
Heads of the usurper regime should know that the response to these atrocities will be a heavier slap to their hideous faces.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) October 10, 2023
Complicating matters and sending regional tensions soaring further at a moment of fresh Iran threats, a US carrier group will soon cross the Atlantic to park in waters off Israel as part of “support” operations. A second carrier could also be on its way:
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.
Hezbollah has issued a statement directly responding to this possibility, saying, “Sending aircraft carriers to the region with the aim of raising enemy morale reveals the weakness of the Zionist military machine.”
More images have begun to emerge of the ratcheting conflict along the Israel-Lebanese border…
⚡️Consequences of the Israeli bombing on homes in the Lebanese town of Al-Dhahira this morning pic.twitter.com/Q6LbSIoIWS
— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) October 11, 2023
In Israel, the death toll from the weekend attack has risen to 1,200 – according to new official statements. The Biden administration has also confirmed that at least 14 of these were US citizens.
Wed, 10/11/2023 – 14:25