On 7 October 2023, Palestinian militant groups led by Hamas launched a large-scale invasion and offensive against Israel from the Gaza Strip, breaking through the Gaza–Israel barrier and forcing entry via the Gaza border crossings, into nearby Israeli settlements and military installations. Hamas called it OPERATION AL AQSA STORM and it is the first direct conflict within Israel’s boundaries since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Hostilities were initiated in the early morning with a rocket barrage against Israel and vehicle-transported incursions into Israeli territory, with several attacks on surrounding Israeli civilian communities and Israeli military bases. For the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel formally declared war. An Israeli operation launched in response has been called IRON SWORDS by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
The attack, which coincided with the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, appeared to have been a complete surprise to the Israelis.
The Iron Dome air defense system was activated. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant conducted security assessments at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.Gallant later approved the mobilisation of tens of thousands of army reservists and declared a state of emergency for areas within 80 kilometres of the Gaza border. He also said that Hamas “made a grave mistake” in launching its attack and pledged that “Israel will win”. The IDF declared a “state of readiness for war”. It also said that the reservists were to be deployed not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank and along the borders with Lebanon and Syria. Residents in areas around the Gaza Strip were asked to stay inside, while civilians in southern and central Israel were “required to stay next to shelters”. Roads around the Gaza Strip were closed by the IDF while the streets of Tel Aviv were also locked down.
Meanwhile on Sunday 8th October US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment of a naval strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS GERALD R. FORD CVN 78, to the eastern Mediterranean.
The group also included the Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser USS NORMANDY CG 60
With the Arleigh Burke Class Flight I Guided Missile Destroyers USS RAMAGE DDG 61 (Image back to February, 2020 in East Med)
USS CARNEY DD 64 – (Image back to November 2007 , whilst leaving Grand Harbour, Malta)
And Flight IIA Batch (Arleigh Burke Class) – USS ROOSEVELT DDG 80 ( Image back to 18th April, 2002 whilst leaving Grand Harbour, Malta)
And USS THOMAS HUDNER DDG 116 that was commissioned 5 years ago.
Meanwhile the United States Air Force (USAF) augmented its F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter squadrons in the region.
Timeline image is of USS DWIGHT D.EISENHOWER CVN 69 in the Mediterranean Sea back to March, 2013.