Britain is to send two ships to the Middle East as part of contingency plans to protect its interests as Israel's land, sea and air offensive against Lebanon continues, officials said Saturday.
A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said the aircraft carrier Illustrious and the warship Bulwark will shortly be sent to the Middle East, but she would not comment on news reports that they will be used to evacuate Britons from the area.
Sky Television Sky reports said the Illustrious is currently in Gibraltar and had been due to return to Britain shortly.
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