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Pentagon instructs U.S. troops stationed in Iraq to BE PREPARED for possible Israel-Hamas war escalation
By Belle Carter // Feb 05, 2024

An online nonprofit news organization acquired a copy of a memo from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that ordered U.S. Air Force personnel to remain on standby in case of "on-ground U.S. involvement in the Israel-Hamas war."

Citing a DoD document that circulated earlier this month, the Intercept reported that the troops stationed in Iraq since last year are being forewarned to prepare to be deployed. While it did not suggest that U.S. military ground involvement in the war is forthcoming, the January memo is the latest intimation of the Pentagon's preparations to support Israel in the wake of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack. After the said assault, the U.S. military was said to put 2,000 troops on prepare-to-deploy orders for potential support to Israel, though from neighboring countries. It also immediately dispatched two aircraft carriers to the region.

The Defense Department did not respond to a request for comment but until this moment, Washington maintains its support for Israel in the Gaza war. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the support would not include "boots on the ground." "But as we've also said, we have significant national security interests in the region," Kirby added.

In fact, the U.S. special forces have been active in Israel since October, with senior official Christopher Maier telling reporters at the time that American commandos were "actively helping the Israelis to do several things." The pentagon also admitted to flying spy drones over Gaza "in support of hostage recovery efforts." The White House posted a picture of U.S. President Joe Biden in Israel posing alongside members of the secretive U.S. special operations units, then quickly deleted it afterward. The memo obtained by the news outlet just proved that the U.S. military presence is still in the Middle East, with personnel deployed to theaters where many Americans think the mission ended long ago.

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Also, since the Gaza war began, American soldiers in Iraq, Syria and Jordan have come under fire more than 150 times, with Iran-aligned Shi'ite militias subjecting their bases to regular drone and rocket barrages. One such attack in Jordan killed three U.S. soldiers and injured others. "As we said before, if the U.S. keeps supporting Israel, there will be escalations," a senior official from an alliance of Iraqi militia said. "All U.S. interests in the region are legitimate targets, and we don't care about U.S. threats to respond."

Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that American ships and warplanes have launched strikes against Houthi militants in Yemen to break a blockade on "Israel-linked" merchant shipping passing through the Red Sea. They are countering attacks by the Yemeni militant group targeting U.S. commercial and military vessels in the area.

Biden will make those responsible for the killing of American soldiers in Jordan pay

Biden said his regime will act accordingly concerning the death of American troops who were killed and dozens more injured in a drone strike in northeast Jordan near the Syrian border. The president, of course, placed the blame on Iran-backed militias for the first U.S. fatalities after months of strikes by such groups against American forces across the Middle East since the start of the conflict there last year.

"We had a tough day … in the Middle East. We lost three brave souls in an attack on one of our bases," he said. After asking for a moment of silence, Biden spoke, "and we shall respond." In a statement, Biden said that the nation will hold all those responsible "to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing." Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin added that they "will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our troops and our interests." (Related: Trump warns of WWIII, blames Biden for drone strike on troops in Jordan and execution of four people in Iran.)

As per a Europe-based activist, who heads the Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet, Omar Abu Layla, the Iran-backed fighters in east Syria have already begun evacuating their posts due to fear of U.S. airstrikes and retaliation. According to U.S. Central Command, at least 34 troops were injured by the one-way attack drone, with eight flown out of Jordan for follow-up care, who are all in stable condition at the moment.

In a statement published by the Jordan-run Petra news agency, the country "condemned the terrorist attack" that targeted Biden's men. "Jordan will continue to counter terrorism and the smuggling of drugs and weapons across the Syrian border into Jordan, and will confront with firmness and determination anyone who attempts to attack the security of the kingdom," Muhannad Mubaidin, a government spokesman, said in the press release.

Head over to WWIII.news to catch more updates on the ongoing and escalating conflict in the Middle East.

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