A Marine rapid response force of nearly 2,000 Marines and sailors capable of special operations is closing in on Israel via the Red Sea, according to a defense official.
On Monday, Fox News confirmed that approximately 2,000 troops were ordered over the weekend to be “ready to deploy” to the Eastern Mediterranean within 24 hours of receiving the order.
But besides the 2,000 troops who received the order this weekend, there are another 2,000 troops – made up of Marines and sailors – who are part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
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A defense official said Monday that the MEU was approaching Israel via the Red Sea.
It is unclear whether the group’s final destination is the Red Sea or whether it will join the USS Ford carrier strike group in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group is also headed.
The unit was scheduled to participate in Marine Air-Ground Task Force training exercises in Kuwait Oct. 8-22.
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The formation included the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and the USS Carter Hall.
On October 7, a day before the exercises began, Hamas-led militants brutally attacked Israel.
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After the attacks, the group was ordered to return to its ships “to prepare for other tasks in the wake of emerging events,” according to Marine Corps Times reports.