Israel-Hamas war ‘out of control’ as China deploys warships to Middle East

Gaza: Black smoke rises following large explosion

China has deployed six military warships to the Middle East, amid growing fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spark an all-out war.

China’s 44th naval escort task force has been involved in what it says are ‘routine’ operations in the area for the past week.

The ships, from the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre, left Oman on Saturday and it is unclear where they are travelling to next.

The Chinese naval ships took part in a joint military exercise with the Omani navy in Muscat.

As part of the joint exercises, Chinese military commanders met with Middle Eastern military counterparts and visited military bases.

The PLA naval unit has been moving around the Middle East and helped escort shipping boats since arriving in the Gulf of Aden north of Somalia six months ago.

On Thursday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping insisted that a two-state solution was the only way out of the current war between Israel and Hamas.

He said: “The top priority now is a ceasefire as soon as possible, to avoid the conflict from expanding or even spiraling out of control and causing a serious humanitarian crisis.”

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This comes amid growing concern in the international community that the war in Israel and Gaza could spill over into a regional conflict.

There have been almost daily clashes between Israel and Hezbollah across the Lebanon border, fueling fear of new fronts opening almost two weeks into the war.

The powerful Iran-backed group is based in Lebanon, and it has a large arsenal of long-range rockets.

On Friday, Israel announced the evacuation of the roughly 20,000 residents of the town of Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanese border.

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Meanwhile, the US is rushing air defences and munitions to Israel, as well as an aircraft carrier fleet to the eastern Mediterranean.

Another huge military carrier is also set to be sent to the region in the coming days.

The US military has also told some 2,000 troops to be ready to deploy within 24 hours if notified.

On Friday, a US Navy warship fired shots in defence of Israel near the Red Sea coast of Yemen, as it took down 15 drones and four cruise missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

US bases in Iraq and Syria have also been targeted by drones from Iran-backed militias in the region.

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