In a recent development, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a select number of US troops to prepare for a possible deployment in support of Israel, as multiple outlets have reported.
The forces will be drawn from various branches of the US armed services, with troops currently stationed in the Middle East and nearby Europe. However, officials have not specified which units were selected or to which locations they might be deployed, as mentioned by the Journal.
It’s important to highlight that, according to reports, the troops will not serve in a combat role, and no infantry has been put on a prepare-to-deploy order.
Pentagon Alerts Troops for Possible Deployment to Support Israel
Later on Monday, Fox News reported that Austin has issued “be ready to deploy” orders for a select number of American troops. Yet, Deputy Defense press secretary Sabrina Singh declined to confirm the reports to members of the press on Monday.
“I don’t have more to provide at this time,” she told reporters at the Pentagon. “I might be able to give you more details later, but at this time, I just don’t have anything more specific to add.”
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the militant group controlling the Gaza Strip, has claimed over 4,000 lives on both sides since Hamas’s surprise assault on Israel on October 7.
The US has continuously expressed support for Israel after the attack, and over the weekend, the Pentagon announced it was sending a second carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean. This strike group is expected to act as a deterrent amid concerns foreign aggressors could engage in the war and will join the USS Gerald Ford group, which is already there.
In addition to this, Washington has sent munitions and interceptors for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and has moved fighter jets to the region.
The Pentagon’s decision to put troops on standby represents a new layer of support for Israeli troops. However, defense officials have insisted that the Pentagon has no intention of putting US forces on the ground.
Instead, the US is helping Israeli officials with “intelligence and planning” for any potential operations to rescue hostages.
With information from The Hill