Tuesday, May 14, 2013


U.S. warship arrives in Israeli red sea port for visit

JERUSALEM, May 14 - A U.S. Navy warship dropped anchor in the Gulf of Eilat in the early hours of Tuesday for a four-day visit to Israel, local media reported.

The USS Kearsarge, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, carries transport and attack helicopters, V-22 Osprey aircraft that take off and land vertically, as well as troops and marine landing craft.

This is the first visit of an American warship to the Red Sea port city in 14 years, said the U.S. military attache in Israel.

The visit was planned in advance and is not connected to tensions in the region, said an Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman in Jerusalem.

"U.S. Navy ships and submarines visit Israeli ports as part of their routine operations. This is a scheduled port visit," the spokeswoman told Xinhua.

The Israeli Navy is hosting the Kearsarge's 4,000 sailors, who will be touring the country until their departure on Saturday, the Ha'aretz daily said. The navies of both countries periodically hold joint training maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere.

The USS Kearsarge is part of an Expeditionary Strike Group based in Norfolk, Virginia and comprised of two guided-missile frigates, a fast-attack submarine, the USS Miami, a dock landing ship and a contingent of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. It carries out maritime security operations in the Gulf as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

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