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RAF providing aerial surveillance support to Israel

RAF aircraft, such as the Poseidon MRA1 pictured, are providing surveillance support to Israel. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is providing aerial surveillance support to Israel in its ongoing operation against Hamas militants in Gaza, it was disclosed on 13 November.

Answering questions in the House of Commons, Minister of State for the Armed Forces James Heappey said, aircraft have been deployed to the region in support of Israel and the UK's wider security concerns.

“A total of 12 aircraft have deployed to the eastern Mediterranean. These flights have provided surveillance support to Israel, including preventing the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups, and to wider regional security. They have also delivered humanitarian aid into Egypt,” Heappey said.

Heappey did not provide details of the surveillance flights, noting, “For operational security reasons, I cannot comment on the specifics of this activity.” He did, however, say that RAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft “and other surveillance assets” had been used “to improve our situational awareness in the region and provide assurance to our partners”.

Online flight tracker services had recorded other RAF intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, including the largely classified RTX Shadow R1/2, operating out of RAF Akrotiri and over the eastern Mediterranean in recent days.

In terms of the humanitarian flights that Heappey also referenced, he noted that RAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III and Airbus A400M Atlas airlifters had been used for this role.

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