Alongside the hostilities in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, a concentration of NATO forces appears to be happening nearby.
On May 16th, a French carrier group was concentrated south of Cyprus.
On May 17th, four US Air Force B-52H strategic bombers arrived in Spain, and this is in addition to the six already based in Qatar.
On May 18th, three missile destroyers from the US Navy aircraft carrier group operating in the Arabian Sea are making a transition with the explicit intention to get, if not to the Mediterranean, then at least to the northern part of the Red Sea, closer to Israel.
This is likely an attempt for Israel’s allies to guarantee that it can continue carrying out its operation, while being undeterred by Iran, or other Palestinian allies.
Essentially, it is likely that Israel will continue its operation until at least May 19th, when there could be negotiations, according to its Armed Forces General Staff.
Tel Aviv possibly expects to reach the point that it has dealt such a crushing blow that Hamas and other Palestinian groups stop their actions and are simply ready to negotiate and accept almost any terms they are presented.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Egyptian intelligence official may visit Israel on May 18th, according to the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya, amid international efforts to halt the ongoing fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas.
EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell says he spoke with his American counterpart Antony Blinken about ending the fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Strip’s Hamas rulers.
They also discussed how to “reduce tensions” between Israel and the Palestinians, Borrell writes on Twitter.
He adds: “Looking beyond, we also need longer term initiatives to break the dynamics of conflict and revive the prospect of a peaceful future for all.”
Exchanged with @SecBlinken on how EU and US can jointly contribute to end violence in Israel and Palestine and reduce tensions.
Looking beyond, we also need longer term initiatives to break the dynamics of conflict and revive the prospect of a peaceful future for all.
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) May 18, 2021
Still, IDF Spokesman Zilberman said all Hamas leaders are in Israel’s “sights” when asked about the prospect the military will take out the Gaza-ruling terror group’s top chiefs.
“We are trying to strike them and when the operational conditions come to fruition I hope that we’ll succeed,” he told the Kan public radio.
In a separate interview with Army Radio, Zilberman says IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has delivered his instructions and goals for the fighting over the next 24 hours.
“The IDF isn’t talking about a ceasefire,” he said.
As such, Israel continues bombing, Palestinian groups keep responding. For a period of 5 hours, Hamas and others didn’t fire a single project on May 18th, while Israel kept targeting various military targets.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- UAV Downed Along Border With Jordan, As Israel Thanks U.S. For Supporting Its Hostilities
- Military Situation In The West Bank And Gaza Strip On May 18th, 2021 (Map Update)