The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has escalated once again, prompting the US to take action to support its key ally. The Pentagon has reportedly selected about 2,000 troops to prepare for a potential deployment to Israel, as a second carrier strike group heads towards the eastern Mediterranean.
According to officials, the troops will not serve in a combat role but will instead focus on tasks such as medical support and advisory duties. This deployment comes after the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower strike group, which was deployed from Norfolk, Virginia, on Friday, joined the USS Gerald R. Ford, which arrived off the coast of Israel last week.
The presence of these two powerful warships sends a clear message to Iran and its proxies, such as Hezbollah, not to escalate the already tense situation. In response to the growing violence, US President Joe Biden has abandoned plans to deliver a speech on economic policy and instead met with top national security officials to discuss the situation.
Early Monday morning, President Biden and Vice President Harris were briefed by their national security team on the latest updates in the wake of Hamas’s attack on Israel and the resulting conflict in Gaza. The briefing, led by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Bill Burns, also included Chief of Staff Jeff Zients.
Meanwhile, Western leaders have urged Israel to follow international law and avoid triggering a wider regional conflict. In a call for restraint, the United Nations told Israel that it would intervene if operations in Gaza continued.
According to diplomatic sources, while Iran does not want the conflict to escalate, it is prepared to intervene either directly or indirectly, potentially through military groups in Syria or Lebanon. This comes as Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza, with reports of a ‘wide range of offensive operational plans’ in the works.
As tensions continue to rise, the US has signaled its commitment to Israel’s security by increasing its force posture in the region. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced late Saturday that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was en route to the region, stating that this deployment ‘signals the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war.’
Additionally, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently in Tel Aviv, meeting with the Israeli ‘war cabinet’ to discuss the ongoing violence and potential paths forward. Schools in Lebanon remain closed amid fears of Israeli airstrikes targeting Hezbollah militants near the border, adding to the already tense situation.
As the conflict continues to escalate, the global community is calling for a de-escalation and diplomatic resolution to the crisis. However, with both sides preparing for potential further actions, the situation remains uncertain and volatile.