A US aircraft carrier docked in the Israeli port of Haifa on Saturday, the first such visit in 17 years.

The USS George H. W. Bush, named for the World War II naval aviator and 41st US president, arrived in Haifa for a four-day stopover with a crew of about 5,700 sailors and pilots and some 90 planes. The crew will spend the Fourth of July in Israel.

Because of its massive size, the George H. W. Bush is 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, the world’s largest warship, was deployed to the Persian Gulf to serve as a base for air strikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group in Syria. It has been in the region since February.

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is on its 3rd deployment, the second in support of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS and maritime security operations in the US 5th and 6th fleet areas of responsibility.

On a visit to Israel in April, US 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.

By: The Tower and United with Israel Staff

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