By Athena Papakosta

The US nuclear aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford with 5,000 sailors and an escort of cruisers and other ships was heading Sunday night, according to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, to the eastern Mediterranean in a “show of support” for Israel. In particular, it is accompanied by the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), as well as the Arleigh-Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Carney (DDG 64) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).

At the same time, the United States is taking steps to strengthen its presence with fighter jets in the region, including F-35s, F-15s, F-16s and A-10s. It is worth noting that some of these fighters had been sent to the Middle East region in recent months in response to the aggression of Iranian forces in this part of the map, including Syria and the Gulf of Oman.

In addition, as the American Secretary of Defense emphasized, the American government will immediately provide additional equipment, resources and ammunition to the Israeli armed forces, while, as noted in the brief announcement of the American Pentagon, “the United States maintains forces at the global level for the further strengthening this deterrent stance, if required.’

According to AFP, a Hamas spokesman said that American military aid to Israel is tantamount to aggression against the Palestinians.

Why does this development matter?

According to the American television network CNN, which cites senior American officials – without naming them – the presence of this strike group aims to act as a deterrent against Hezbollah in Lebanon and against other military organizations that have mobilized against Israel.

We remind you that on Saturday the president of the United States, Joe Biden, warned any third party that tries to take advantage of the situation in the region stressing “we warn any other party hostile to Israel that seeks to gain a strategic advantage in this situation”.

For Israel, the United States and the European Union, Hamas, like Hezbollah, are characterized as terrorist organizations with Israel, in fact, accusing the “eternal” enemy of Iran of supporting the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas. Of course, United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stressed that he has “seen no evidence” that Iran was behind the Hamas attack, despite the close relationship between them.

The external factor of Hezbollah

An exchange of fire between the Hezbollah group and Israel’s military along the Lebanese border on Sunday morning sparked concerns of a wider regional conflict. For its part, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the shelling of an Israeli military position in a disputed area near the border with Lebanon in the occupied Golan Heights.

Iran-backed Hezbollah is estimated to have tens of thousands of rockets at its disposal. Since 2006 and the brutal war with Israel, Hezbollah has remained on the sidelines of previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas. But many believe that if the destruction in Gaza intensifies further, perhaps he will “feel” the pressure to intervene. For his part, the representative of the Israeli army, emphasized yesterday evening that the army of Israel “looks towards the North in full readiness”, referring to the border of the country with Lebanon.

The fear

Earlier, Hamas’s top militant commander, Mohammed Dayef, called on Palestinians and other Arabs to join the militants’ operation to, as he described it, “eliminate the [ισραηλινής] possession”.

A big question now is whether Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem or elsewhere in the region will heed his call, the BBC’s Jerusalem correspondent Yoland Knell reported.

As analysts explain, Israel does not rule out the war “opening” on multiple fronts with the worst scenario being the involvement of Hezbollah, which is why it is calling up thousands of reserves. Already the Israeli airstrikes continue unabated while everyone waits for the ground operation to begin with images of tanks on the border in southern Israel intensifying. For now, the first concern of the Israeli authorities is to neutralize any Palestinian pocket of resistance that still exists on Israeli soil.