According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Israel has agreed to postpone its anticipated invasion of Gaza in order to allow the United States to deploy missile defenses to the region to protect American troops. US officials have convinced Israel to delay its ground assault until air defense systems can be brought in, possibly as early as later this week. The decision to delay is also influenced by considerations for providing humanitarian aid to Gaza and diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas militants.
The primary concern driving this decision is the safety of US troops in the region. The US military is working to quickly deploy nearly a dozen air defense systems to protect its forces in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. Officials believe that once Israel launches its ground invasion, militant groups will target US forces.
This report follows earlier news that the US advised Israel to hold off on a ground assault in Gaza. The US has been in communication with Qatar, a broker with the Palestinian militants, to keep them updated on these talks. The US is also preparing for a potential wider regional conflict.
Previously, the Pentagon announced plans to send two Iron Dome missile defense systems to Israel to help defend against incoming missiles. Additionally, a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and extra Patriot air defense missile system battalions were to be deployed to the Middle East.