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UK to deploy naval task group and surveillance assets to Eastern Mediterranean

The UK is deploying a naval task group comprising RFA Lyme Bay (pictured), RFA Argus , three Merlin HC Mk4 helicopters, and a company of Royal Marines as well as surveillance aircraft to the Eastern Mediterranean in the coming days to support Israel, reinforce regional stability, and prevent escalation. (Michael Nitz/Naval Press Service)

The UK government has announced plans to deploy a Royal Navy (RN) task force and surveillance aircraft to the Eastern Mediterranean as part of efforts to step up co-operation with Israel and help reinforce regional stability.

The move comes after several days of fighting that has claimed more than 1,000 lives following the surprise attack by Hamas militants on 7 October and subsequent Israeli retaliation.

In a 12 October announcement, the Prime Minister's Office said a task group comprising the RN's Bay-class landing ship dock Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Lyme Bay and Primary Casualty Receiving Ship RFA Argus , three Merlin HC Mk4 helicopters, and a company of Royal Marines would be moved to the Eastern Mediterranean in the coming days as a contingency measure to help mitigate the humanitarian crisis.

In addition, from 13 October the Royal Air Force (RAF) will start flying P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and other surveillance assets in the region to help partners track emerging threats to regional security such as transfer of weapons to militant groups.

Downing Street said the military package would be on standby to deliver “practical support” to Israel and offer “deterrence and assurance”.

RFA Lyme Bay and RFA Argus

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