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U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Visit Israel for First Time in 17 Years

A United States aircraft carrier is slated to dock in an Israeli port for the first time in 17 years on Saturday.

The USS George H. W. Bush, named for the World War II naval aviator and 41st U.S. president, is scheduled to arrive in Haifa for a four day stopover with a crew of about 5,700 sailors and pilots and some 90 planes, Haaretz reported. The crew will spend the Fourth of July in Israel.

Because of its massive size, the George H. W. Bush will be unable to dock at Haifa’s port, but will remain offshore. Ferries will transport the crew to land.

The carrier, a Nimitz class nuclear-powered vessel, was deployed to the Persian Gulf to serve as a base for air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria.

On a visit to Israel in April, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that Washington “maintains absolute and unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”

“The two dangers that face Israel and all of the other nations in the region that are trying to maintain a stable and peaceful and prosperous region are those that I’m here to discuss with the Prime Minister,” Mattis added.

[Photo: Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr ]