Israel Delays Gaza Invasion (Again) As US Scrambles To Put Missile Defenses In Place

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Oct 25, 2023 - 03:28 PM

Update(1128ET): Both US and Israeli officials have told The Wall Streat Journal in a breaking major development that Israel has decided to further stall its planned ground invasion of Gaza, at the request of Washington. 

Though airstrikes have been ramped up, resulting in the Palestinian death toll soaring past 6,500 - it has become clear in the last several days that Israel has been waiting in terms of a ground assault. This also as four hostages have been freed due to negotiations involving Qatari mediation with Hamas. The WSJ frames this further delay, however, as related to putting additional air defense from the US in place.

"The Pentagon is scrambling to deploy nearly a dozen air-defense systems to the region, including for U.S. troops serving in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to protect them from missiles and rockets," the report says. "U.S. officials have so far persuaded the Israelis to hold off until those pieces can be placed, as early as later this week."

This is a sign that Washington is bracing for significant escalation to come. US Central Command (CENTCOM) yesterday revealed that last week US troops and installations in Iraq and Syria came under more than a dozen drone attacks, resulting in two dozen troop injuries, albeit described as "minor".

Crude prices jumped, as stocks fade, on the headline portending escalation, given the Pentagon is building up yet more major military assets in the Middle East...

Also yesterday, NSC spokesman John Kirby issued unprecedented words saying that more "innocent people" are going to die in Gaza. "This is war. It is combat. It is bloody. It is ugly, and it's going to be messy. And innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward," he stated in a press briefing. The US has warned Iran against its proxies attacking US forces in the region. 

As the WSJ details further, even though the White House has been pressing for more humanitarian aid to get into Gaza, it remains that "the threats to the U.S. troops are of a paramount concern, U.S. officials said. U.S. military and other officials believe that American forces will be targeted by various militant groups once the incursion begins.

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There was another dangerous exchange of fire between Syria and Israel near the Golan Heights in the overnight hours, related to ongoing airstrikes on Gaza. Late Tuesday and into the overnight hours there were widespread reports that at least two rockets were fired from southern Syria, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) saying the pair of projectiles landed in open fields.

Israel then responded with a major attack on what it said were Syrian missile batteries in retaliation, which reportedly killed at least eight Syrian troops, according to international reports and state media, the latter which detailed, "Around 1:45am [22:45 GMT Tuesday], the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the occupied Golan Heights."

Regional media sources said the IDF response attack destroyed arms depots and a Syrian air defense radar, and the base that was struck included an infantry unit. 

A prominent Syrian opposition monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory, said it wasn't the Syrian Army that fired the salvo in the first place. It identified that "fighters loyal to Hezbollah" were responsible, having "launched rockets towards the occupied Syrian Golan."

On Wednesday, the IDF issued rare confirmation of its strikes on southern Syria, saying "fighter jets struck military infrastructure and mortars belonging to the Syrian army in response to the launches towards Israel yesterday [Tuesday]."

According to sources cited in AFP, Syrian army and Palestinian factions have been issued fresh warnings this week by the IDF near the Golan. Leaflets were reportedly dropped in the region, which read: "Syrian commanders … bear full responsibility for operations … incoming from Syrian territory"... every attack "on the state of Israel will be met with an iron fist."

Syrian Army and Hezbollah forces work in close coordination, and it's not uncommon for Israel to attack Syrian government installations for something Hezbollah or an "Iran-linked" paramilitary group did.

This month, Israel has already attacked Damascus and Aleppo international airports some two or three times. In Damascus, an airport worker died in the latest instance the runway was taken out.

A new Wednesday report in SANA indicates Aleppo airport has been struck yet again

“Nearly at 1:25 p.m.  on Wednesday, the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression from the Mediterranean Sea, west of Lattakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport, causing material damage to the airport’s runway and it’s now out of service.” A military source stated in a statement to SANA.

Israel is on a heightened state of alert not only along the Golan Heights which it occupies, but along its northern border with Lebanon as well, where dozens and towns and villages have already been evacuated as a fight gears up with Hezbollah.