Following the eruption of the Gaza war, Israel has assented to a request from the United States to delay its intended Gaza ground incursion temporarily. This move will allow Washington ample time to deploy added air defense systems, ensuring the protection of its troops stationed in the region, a recent report revealed.
In an accelerated response to threats, the Pentagon has initiated the deployment of nearly a dozen air defense systems across Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This is largely a reaction to the series of attacks, numbering at least 13, carried out by Iranian-backed proxies since the commencement of the Gaza conflict. These assaults resulted in injuries to US troops, with at least two dozen soldiers being wounded in Syria and another 10 in Iraq. However, all injuries have been described as minor by US officials.
Other Factors in Play
While the US’s request is deemed as a pivotal reason for the delay, other factors have also been influencing Israel’s decisions. Israel’s plans also encompass the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians and ongoing diplomatic endeavors aimed at releasing more hostages held in the area. Recent times have witnessed the entry of some humanitarian aid from Egypt into Gaza, a move facilitated by a US-mediated agreement.
During Hamas’s recent surge of violence against Israel on October 7, more than 220 individuals were captured and relocated to the Gaza Strip. To date, efforts have resulted in the release of four of these hostages.
In a recent statement, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, emphasized that a ground incursion into Gaza is imminent. However, he refrained from divulging specifics concerning its timing or methodology. Echoing the objective of the operation, he stated that the main goals were to dismantle Hamas and secure the return of the hostages.
Washington’s support for Israel has been notably robust, evident from the dispatch of two carrier groups to the eastern Mediterranean and the provision of military advisors.
However, there are rising concerns within the Biden administration about the clarity of Israel’s military objectives in Gaza. This has led some US officials to speculate on the preparedness of the IDF for the ground incursion.
Since the tragic events of October 7, Israel has launched an aerial offensive targeting Gaza, aimed squarely at crippling Hamas’s operational infrastructure. While Israel asserts its focus on minimizing civilian casualties, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that the strikes have resulted in the deaths of over 6,500 individuals, with a majority being civilians.