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The Latest: Pentagon Speeds Up Exit Of Personnel From Israel

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Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

(AP) — WASHINGTON – The U.S. Defense Department has flown about 120 personnel out of Israel as a precaution in light of the ongoing violence there.

That’s according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, who said the American personnel departed on Thursday on a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane.

They had been in Israel to plan for a future bilateral exercise. Kirby said the conference was scheduled to end this week but the exit was accelerated by a few days.

There has been a dangerous escalation this week between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas militant rulers. Hamas sent a heavy barrage of rockets deep into Israel on Thursday as Israel pounded Gaza with more airstrikes and shells and called up 9,000 more reservists who could be used to stage a ground invasion.

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