UK scrambles RAF, Navy and Marines to protect Israel from further attacks
Britain has scrambled the RAF, Navy and Royal Marines to protect Israel from further "horrific" terror attacks.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sent in the military to help stem the bloodshed across the Middle East and ensure humanitarian aid reaches "thousands of innocent victims of this barbaric attack".
RAF surveillance aircraft will tomorrow (Friday, October 13) begin flying patrols to track "emerging threats' to Israel following the weekend's swathe of atrocities unleashed by Hamas terrorists who crossed the border from Gaza murdering men, women and children indiscriminately.
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The PM also ordered a Royal Navy task force to deploy to Israel's east Mediterranean coastline to "help mitigate humanitarian crisis". Royal Marines commandoes will be "on standby to deliver practical support to Israel and partners in the region and offer deterrence and assurance".
He also directed the beefing up of Brit military units already based across the Middle East as "cooperation with Israel is stepped up", No10 said. Air crews were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
The move came after King Charles III said he was "appalled" by "barbaric acts of terrorism" which have resulted in the deaths of 2,500 – including at least 133 youngsters and 17 Brits – and taking of 150 hostages by terror mob Hamas.
It followed talks between the PM and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reports from the frontline by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly who jetted to the scene and discussions between Defence Secretary Grant Schapps and his NATO counterparts in Brussels. The Prime Minister said: "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."
Britain is sending P8 aircraft, surveillance drones, two Royal Navy ships – RFA Lyme Bay and RFA Argus – three Merlin Mk 2 helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.
A No10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has directed UK military assets to be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to support Israel, reinforce regional stability and prevent escalation. Maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft will begin flying in the region from Friday to track threats to regional stability such as the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups.
"Meanwhile a Royal Navy task group will be moved to the eastern Mediterranean next week as a contingency measure to support humanitarian efforts. The Prime Minister has also asked for all military teams in Israel, Cyprus and across the region to be bolstered to support contingency planning and the efforts of neighbouring countries to deal with any spill over from instability in Israel."
According to declassified military documents Britain had 10 troops stationed in Israel and Palestine split between the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and US Embassy in Jerusalem. But they have much greater numbers at bases across the Middle East – including Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia."
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."
A No10 spokesman added: "The package of military support, which will work alongside allies already in the region, is a significant demonstration of the UK’s support for Israel’s right to self-defence and will allow the UK to adapt to the needs of partners as the situation evolves over the coming weeks."
Mr Cleverly announced the UK will lay on commercial flights to help vulnerable Brits wanting to leave Israel. The atrocities have triggered a more than 400% rise in antisemitic hate crimes in the UK since Hamas terrorists launched their gun and rocket attack on an Israeli music festival on Saturday killing 260.
The Community Security Trust recorded 89 "anti-Jewish hate" incidents from October 7 to 10 – more than four times the number at the same time last year. Six were assaults, three damage to property and 66 abusive behaviour.
One victim walking to a London synagogue was called a "dirty Jew" by a stranger who said: "No wonder you're all getting raped.'' A driver waving a Palestinian flag slowed down outside a London synagogue and yelled "kill Jews" and "death to Israel".
Security minister Tom Tugendhat said he was "very concerned" as the Government pledged £3million of extra funding to protect schools, synagogues and other Jewish community buildings. The Metropolitan Police has written an open letter to London's Jewish community expressing support and solidarity.
Deputy commissioner Dame Lynne Owens said the force will "do all that we can to make sure you feel safe and protected here at home' and take action against any "abuse or intimidation that is religiously motivated".
Anyone supporting Hamas and Lebanese terror group Hezbollah – both of which took part in the Israeli attacks and are banned in Britain – will face prosecution.
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