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5,000 US troops involved in Gaza offensive – media

The report by the Tasmin news agency comes as the Pentagon has moved additional military assets into the Middle East

Several thousand US troops have taken part in Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, the Iran-based Tasnim news agency reported on Saturday. The Pentagon has recently announced plans to significantly reinforce its military presence in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas conflict and tensions with Iran.

According to the agency’s security sources, Israel’s assault on Gaza involved three divisions and several brigades and was also underpinned by 5,000 US military personnel. The outlet, however, did not provide any details about which troops took part in the offensive or what functions they performed.

Tasmin said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attempted to enter the enclave from several areas in the north, west, and southwest “to split the Gaza Strip into two or three sections and cut off the connection among the Palestinian resistance forces before launching the next stage of the war.” The agency did not specify what results the Israeli military had achieved so far.

However, Hamas said on Saturday that it had managed to thwart Israel’s assault, claiming to have repelled it with heavy losses. Meanwhile, the IDF stated that it was “advancing through the stages of the war” in Gaza, with fighting still ongoing. It noted that no soldiers had been injured in the “expanded” ground operations.

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Israel ‘expanded’ operations in Gaza after hostage talks stalled – Axios

After Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, the US military scrambled to reinforce its presence in the region. The Pentagon has sent two aircraft carriers with supporting vessels to the area, as well as “activated the deployment” of THAAD and Patriot air defense systems.

Last week, it also said it had ordered more than 2,000 additional troops to prepare to deploy in support of Israel in its conflict with Hamas. On Thursday, it said that it would deploy 900 soldiers to the Middle East. US officials, however, insisted, that none of the troops would go to Israel, and are rather “intended to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster US force protection capabilities.” 

The decision to send reinforcements also came as the US conducted airstrikes on two facilities in eastern Syria allegedly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups. US President Joe Biden said it was a response to recurring attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria. Tehran maintains that militant groups in those countries are acting independently.

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