Approximately 900 additional US troops are being sent to the Middle East in reaction to the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict. This decision comes as American forces in Iraq experienced another attack by a group with Iranian ties, according to Air Force Gen. Patrick Ryder, the spokesperson for the Pentagon.
Soldiers, including those who were previously placed on “prepare to deploy” status, commenced their arrival in the region on Thursday. Simultaneously, others are in the process of getting ready to depart in the hours and days ahead, as stated by Ryder.
Ryder did not disclose the exact location in the Middle East where the troops will be sent. However, he made it clear that they will not be deployed within Israel.
Among the 900 service members, the group comprises a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery from Fort Bliss, Texas. Additionally, there are Patriot missile system batteries from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Liberty, North Carolina. The lineup also includes Avenger air-defense system batteries from Fort Liberty, along with corresponding air-defense headquarters components from Fort Bliss and Fort Cavazos, Texas.
This declaration followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s confirmation that he would postpone the scheduled ground offensive into Gaza. This delay is aimed at providing the United States with the necessary time to position missile defense systems. The objective is to protect against an expected rise in acts of terrorism orchestrated by Iran and directed at American forces in the area.
The United States is rapidly working to position over 10 air-defense systems to safeguard its military personnel based in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This is in response to the threat of missile and rocket attacks, as per statements from defense officials.
Although defense officials anticipate an increase in hostile actions against US forces in the Middle East following Israel’s ground offensive, there has already been a concerning surge in attacks on American troops in Iraq and Syria over the past few weeks. This pattern persisted on Thursday when an unidentified terrorist organization with ties to Iran carried out another assault on US troops stationed at Erbil Airbase in Iraq.
Ryder characterized the attack on Thursday at Erbil Air Base as ineffective, with no notable injuries or damage reported.
Nonetheless, prior to this incident, over 20 American service members have been injured in attacks since October 17. Some of these injuries include traumatic brain injuries. Although there have been no fatalities, it’s worth noting that a US contractor passed away from a heart attack on October 18 while seeking shelter during a suspected drone attack at al-Asad Airbase in Iraq.