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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsUS Aircraft Deployed in Greece as Part of Israel-Hamas Response

US Aircraft Deployed in Greece as Part of Israel-Hamas Response

Greece US aircraft
10 C-130 special operations aircraft were sent to Souda base on Crete. File photo. Credit: Airwolfhound , CC BY-SA 2.0

The US is sending dozens of aircraft to Greece as part of its response to the war between Israel and Hamas, it emerged on Tuesday.

In an exclusive report, the news website CNN Greece says dozens of military aircraft, transports and flying tankers have been deployed to the Souda Bay Naval and Air Base on Crete.

Images published by CNN Greece, there are at least 7 flying tankers, 10 C-130 special operations aircraft, 1 KC-135 electronic warfare aircraft and 1 state-of-the-art naval operations aircraft Boeing P-8 Poseidon as well as an AC-130ö that have been stationed there.

According to CNN Greece, a large number of US Marines have already landed in Souda, which is a major naval base of the Hellenic Navy and NATO. Souda is also in close proximity to the eastern Mediterranean where the war threatens to spread.

Another Greek publication, Hellas Journal, reported that preparations are underway to host US aircraft at a second air base, the 112 Combat Wing in Elefsina, west of Athens.

Between five and eight C-130s are among the aircraft headed to Elefsina. C-17s also could be part of the deployment.

The reported moves come as the Pentagon shifts additional forces to the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East in response to the Israel-Hamas war.

The possibility of the war growing beyond Gaza has raised concerns that US forces could come under increased attacks at bases in Iraq and Syria, where pro-Iranian militia groups have launched rockets and drones.

In response to those concerns, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday ordered the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system and additional Patriot battalions to bases in the region.

US aircraft fly to Greece an important NATO ally

For the US military, Greece has become an increasingly important ally in southeastern Europe.

In addition to the Souda Bay hub, the Defense Department has expanded operations at military sites across Greece in conjunction with an updated bilateral security agreement.

The House of Representatives approved an amendment in late August to examine a plan to construct US bases on Greek islands, allowing for the expansion of US military presence.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual authorization bill for the Department of Defense which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, was spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY).

The amendment comes as U.S. forces were granted access to four additional military bases in Greece under the expanded defense cooperation agreement signed by the two countries in October of 2021. In recent years, the Pentagon has stepped up military activities in Greece in response to Russian naval operations and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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