Israel has agreed to delay an expected ground invasion of Gaza—until at least later this week—at the request of the U.S. so it can get more defenses in place to protect American troops, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Pentagon is working to get “nearly a dozen air-defense systems” to the Middle East to protect U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria, Jordan and more, the Journal reported, citing anonymous U.S. officials and people familiar with Israel’s planning.
Israel also considered the release of more hostages from Hamas and humanitarian aid efforts when making the decision to delay the ground invasion, the report said.
American troops in the region are expected to be the target of a number of militant groups once the ground invasion occurs, according to the Journal.
10. That’s at least how many drone and missile attacks U.S. troops have experienced in Iraq and Syria between October 17 and October 24, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a press conference Tuesday.
The decision to delay the invasion comes after days of reported persuasion from the United States. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported the Biden Administration—which has expressed unwavering support for Israel since the start of the war—was advising Israel to delay its ground invasion of Gaza in order to have more time for hostage negotiations and aid delivery. As of Wednesday, Hamas had released just four hostages—two Americans and two Israeli citizens—of more than 200. The hostages were taken in Hamas’ initial attack on Israel on October 7, in which more than 1,300 Israelis were killed. The attack spurred weeks of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which have killed more than 6,500 Palestinians and injured more than 17,000, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. Calls for a cease-fire have been increasing worldwide as the death tolls rise and hospitals in Gaza are running out of supplies needed to operate due to a blockage of aid. On Tuesday, Israel rejected the United Nations’ call for a cease-fire, again saying it will destroy Hamas, the Associated Press reported.