Australia to deploy additional ADF personnel and aircraft to the Middle East as Israel continues Gaza assault after Hamas attack

Australian Defence Force personnel and two additional RAAF aircraft are being deployed to the Middle East as violence in Israel and Gaza intensifies.

Defence Minister Richard Marles confirmed the deployment was a precautionary measure that would support Australians in the region in case the security situation deteriorates.

“The situation is volatile and we very much hope that it is contained to Gaza,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

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“But we are taking these steps now in the event that matters do get worse.”

He has urged any Australians remaining in the Middle East to leave while they still can.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: ADF deployed to Middle East.

“If you are in the region now and you want to leave, you should take whatever commercial options are available to you,” he said.

“This is a very volatile situation and no one knows exactly how it will play out.”

Israeli airstrikes killed 700 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip overnight, the highest 24-hour death toll since Tel Aviv began its total blockade on the territory about two weeks ago.

Since then the government has laid siege to the 2.3 million Palestinians living in the territory, meaning no food, water, fuel or electricity has reached them.

Though some aid trucks have been allowed through, humanitarian organisations there are not nearly enough to address the dire situation.

The Australian government is working with 79 people who are trapped in Gaza but Marles acknowledged they were in a “very difficult situation”.

“We’re very much encouraging those people to move south within Gaza … but at this point, we’ve been unable to get those people out,” he said.

The news comes as Israel’s ambassador to Australia defends his nation’s right to self defence following the Palestinian death toll rising to more than 5000.

Hamas’ attack on Israel left more than 1400 dead with about 200 people taken hostage.

The ADF is sending aircraft and personnel to the Middle East in case the security situation worsens. Credit: EPA

Since then, retaliatory strikes have killed more than 5000 Palestinians and left a million displaced.

Ambassador Amir Maimon said Tel Aviv was acting in accordance with humanitarian law.

“Innocent Israelis are suffering following this barbaric attack of the Hamas,” he said.

“You don’t measure the legitimacy of the Israeli response by the number of the casualties.

“You measure it by the adherence of the Israeli government to the international law, we are adhering, complying to the international law.”

Maimon will address the National Press Club on Wednesday as pressure mounts on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to visit Israel on his way home from the United States.

Australia is continuing to call for a humanitarian corridor out of Gaza after Jordan managed to secure the release of four Australians and a permanent resident from the West Bank.

The prime minister and foreign minister have said all innocent lives matter and called for Israel to act in accordance with international law.

Muslim minister Ed Husic has called the blockade stopping fuel and supplies into Gaza “collective punishment”, going further than his cabinet colleagues.

He said while no one disputes Israel’s right to defend itself against the terrible attack, he was simply calling for “a strategic, more precise way to deal with Hamas” that takes into account the toll being borne by innocent Palestinians.

“People understand Hamas needs to be held to account, but there is genuinely a concern in the community,” he told ABC TV.

Hamas is a proscribed terrorist group by the Australian government.

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