Israel Palestine Conflict

US sends nuclear submarine to the Mideast amid Gaza war; Israel welcomes move

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The US Navy has dispatched a nuclear submarine to the Middle East, the military said in a rare social media announcement.

“On November 5, 2023, an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the US Central Command area of responsibility,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a post late on Sunday on X (formerly Twitter).

The unusual public announcement of a nuclear submarine’s position in the Middle East is being viewed by many as a message of deterrence by the administration of US President Joe Biden to regional rivals such as Iran.

The Israeli military welcomed the move.

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“It’s always good news to see that the Americans are moving in more assets,” Reuters cited military spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht as telling reporters. “We see this as sort of a deterring, stabilizing aspect in the region.”

The social media post did not specify the sub, but US Navy has four Ohio-class guided missile submarines (SSGNs). SSGNs are former ballistic missile subs converted to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Like nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), SSGNs can operate undetected near an adversary’s homeland for extended periods, according to the Submarine Industrial Base Council.

They can covertly deploy Special Operations Forces and conduct strike operations with an element of surprise and shock for the enemy from close-in positions.

The US has sent two aircraft carriers to the region since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. The Ohio-class submarine will join these US military assets in the area.

Israel has been relentlessly bombing the Gaza Strip in retaliation of the October 7 attack that killed 1,400 Israelis and saw more than 200 others taken as captives by the militant group.

Since then, Israel has killed around 9,500 Palestinians, with more than half of them being women and children.

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