Five US service members killed in aircraft crash in Mediterranean -Defense Department


WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Five U.S. service members were killed on Friday when their aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a refueling training mission, the U.S. Defense Department said on Sunday.

Search and rescue operations involving nearby U.S. military aircraft and ships immediately followed the crash and an investigation into its cause is under way, U.S. European Command said in a statement.

The U.S. military has deployed two aircraft carriers, their supporting ships and dozens of aircraft to the eastern Mediterranean since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel to act as a deterrent to ensure the conflict does not expand.

U.S. European Command, which handles American military operations in Europe and parts of the Middle East, reported the accident on Saturday.

“We can definitively say that the aircraft sortie was purely related to training and there are no indications of hostile activity,” it said.

Identities of the victims will not be released until next of kin notifications are completed, the command said.

President Joe Biden expressed his condolences in a statement on Sunday.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Scott Malone, Grant McCool and Sandra Maler)

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