The US Secretary of Defense is concerned that the risk of soldiers in the Middle East being attacked increases after the Pentagon dispatched more troops to the region.
“In fact, we see a significant increase in the risk of attacks against American soldiers and citizens in the region, so we will do everything necessary to ensure that American troops are protected.” good and capable of responding to all situations,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on October 22.
Last week, two military bases housing US forces in Iraq were attacked by militia groups. A US military base in southern Syria was attacked by drones (UAVs) on October 19, injuring several people.
The US State Department has asked non-essential government employees and their relatives to leave Iraq, as “security threats to US government personnel and interests are increasing.”
The US is deploying about 2,500 troops in Iraq and about 900 troops in Syria. The risk of attacks targeting US forces increases as the Pentagon deploys more assets and troops to the Middle East.
Mr. Austin announced on October 21 that the US is deploying additional missile defense complexes to the Middle East, including Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries and Patriot battalions, to protect forces. America operates in the region.
Previously, the US dispatched a marine quick reaction force with 2,000 soldiers and two aircraft carrier battle groups to the eastern Mediterranean to prevent the possibility of armed groups opening a new front against ally Israel.
“If any armed group or country wants to expand the conflict and take advantage of this situation, which we consider very unfortunate, our advice is not to do so,” Secretary Austin stated.
The US moves take place in the context of escalating fighting between the Hezbollah group and Israel when Tel Aviv is continuously attacking the Gaza Strip and plans to launch a ground campaign into the territory.
Naim Qassem, deputy leader of Hezbollah, announced on October 21 that the group was “in the center of battle” and warned that Israel would pay a heavy price if it launched a large-scale attack on the Gaza Strip. “We are trying to weaken Israel and let them know that we are ready,” Mr. Qassem declared.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Austin said he had called on Israeli officials, especially his counterpart Yoav Gallant, to “deploy the operation in accordance with the rules of war”.
“We take into account the civilians trapped in the war zone. We encourage Israel to provide a corridor for them to leave this place at all costs,” Mr. Austin said.