The Pentagon moves to step up its military readiness in the Middle East, ordering the activation of air defense systems “throughout” the region and alerting additional US forces that they may be deployed soon.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says in a statement that the moves are in response to “recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East.”
“These steps will bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for US forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel,” he says.
Austin does not specify how many additional US troops will be deployed to the region.
“I will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary,” he says, adding that the moves follow “detailed discussions” with US President Joe Biden.
The announcement also comes after Austin again spoke with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, amid the ongoing war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.
“The secretary thanked Minister Gallant for Israel’s role in facilitating the October 21 humanitarian convoy into Gaza and reiterated the importance of protecting civilians,” said a statement from the Pentagon. “The two leaders also discussed the continued provision of security assistance and the US commitment to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war.”