Both US and Israeli officials have told The Wall Street Journal in a breaking major development that Israel has decided to further stall its planned ground invasion of Gaza, at the request of Washington.
Though airstrikes have been ramped up, resulting in the Palestinian death toll soaring past 6,500 – it has become clear in the last several days that Israel has been waiting in terms of a ground assault. This also as four hostages have been freed due to negotiations involving Qatari mediation with Hamas. The WSJ frames this further delay, however, as related to putting additional air defense from the US in place.
“The Pentagon is scrambling to deploy nearly a dozen air-defense systems to the region, including for U.S. troops serving in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to protect them from missiles and rockets,” the report says. “U.S. officials have so far persuaded the Israelis to hold off until those pieces can be placed, as early as later this week.”
This is a sign that Washington is bracing for significant escalation to come. US Central Command (CENTCOM) yesterday revealed that last week US troops and installations in Iraq and Syria came under more than a dozen drone attacks, resulting in two dozen troop injuries, albeit described as “minor”.
Crude prices jumped, as stocks fade, on the headline portending escalation, given the Pentagon is building up yet more major military assets in the Middle East…
Also yesterday, NSC spokesman John Kirby issued unprecedented words saying that more “innocent people” are going to die in Gaza. “This is war. It is combat. It is bloody. It is ugly, and it’s going to be messy. And innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward,” he stated in a press briefing. The US has warned Iran against its proxies attacking US forces in the region.
As the WSJ details further, even though the White House has been pressing for more humanitarian aid to get into Gaza, it remains that “the threats to the U.S. troops are of a paramount concern, U.S. officials said. U.S. military and other officials believe that American forces will be targeted by various militant groups once the incursion begins. Read more here…