US withdraws 120 military personnel from Israel as violence continues

Major airlines cancel flights between the US and Tel Aviv

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 13 May 2021 18:48 BST
Related: Series of explosions seen on Gaza skyline
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The US has withdrawn approximately 120 military and civilian personnel from Israel, who were in the country to plan upcoming exercises, according to a report.

Citing a Department of Defence official, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr says that the group left on a C-17 aircraft to return to a base in Germany.

The continuing violence and lack of commercial air travel options were given as reasons to leave early on military transport.

On Thursday morning, the C-17 was recorded landing in Tel Aviv from Ramstein US Air Force Base in southwestern Germany.

Due to the escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, many flights have been redirected from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to Ramon Airport, which is near the Red Sea resort Eilat.

The airport says it is operating after a brief halt when Hamas fired a rocket that missed the airfield but landed in the area.

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines have cancelled flights between the United States and Tel Aviv, according to data by flight tracker FlightAware.

As airstrikes continue on Gaza, and dozens of rockets are fired by Hamas militants back into Israel, the death toll is mounting, with seven dead in Israel and 87 killed in Gaza, including 18 children.

The Israeli military is reportedly set to approve plans for a possible ground invasion of Gaza, with additional troops, including infantry and armoured brigades, already in position on the border of the Palestinian territory.

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