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U.S. positions ships for ‘remote’ possibility of evacuation

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States positioned three warships in the eastern Mediterranean reportedly to evacuate Americans from Israel in the "remote" possibility the Israel-Gaza conflict requires it.

CNN reported Monday that the 2,500 Marines on board the USS Iwo Jima, the USS New York and the USS Gunston Hall had been scheduled to return to Norfolk, Va., for Thanksgiving, but now are on standby near Israel.

The online report quoted two officials as saying that such a contingency was still seen as "extremely remote." The officials said that the ships would not be used in combat.

Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza on Nov. 14 after an intensification of rocket fire from Gaza. It has since called up thousands of reserve troops and is considering a ground offensive pending the outcome of truce talks in Cairo.

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