Israeli Air Force Airlifts Troops Back Home from Europe

The U.S. continues ‘surging support’ to Israel as defense officials worry of a second front opening along its northern border.

Israeli Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport plane in flight. [Credit: Shutterstock]

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has sent cargo planes throughout Europe to transport hundreds of troops back to Israel amid an unfolding war against Hamas militants, according to a report.

The airlift included C-130 and C-130J heavy transport aircraft, and was carried out in coordination with Israel's Foreign Ministry, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday. The move comes as Israel drafted 300,000 reservists for active duty service.

"We have never drafted so many reservists on such a scale. We are going on the offensive," IAF chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a Reuters report.

Pentagon Surges Support 

On Tuesday, the IAF stepped up its air assault in areas it said were Hamas strongholds, with dozens of fighter jets striking more than 100 targets in Al-Furqan in the Gaza Strip.

Four days after Hamas militants launched a surprise multifront attack, an estimated 1,600 have been killed, mostly civilians. The staggering civilian toll prompted leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy to join the U.S. on Monday in issuing a rare joint statement condemning Hamas and its acts of terrorism.

The U.S. is "surging support" to Israel through air defense and missiles, as well as positioning the USS Gerald R. Ford Strike Group, which includes an air wing and accompanying cruisers and destroyers, into the eastern Mediterranean, as concerns grow of a second front emerging along Israel's northern border, a senior defense official told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday afternoon.

As many as 25 U.S. F-35 and F-15 fighter jets have also been sent to the region, according to media reports.

"The versatility and mobility of the strike group, which can conduct a full spectrum of missions, from intelligence collection, maritime dominance, to long-range strike, will ensure the United States is postured to respond to any contingencies and minimize the risk of a wider spread conflict that would threaten stability," the Pentagon official said.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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