WSJ: Israel Agrees to Delay Gaza Ground Invasion So US Can Prepare Defenses

The US is expecting a major escalation of attacks on US troops in the region once Israel goes into Gaza

Israel has agreed to a request from the US to delay its ground invasion of Gaza so the US can send more missile defense systems to the region to prepare for an expected escalation of attacks on US troops, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The report said the US is rushing to deploy nearly a dozen air defense systems to the region that will aim to protect US troops stationed in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that he ordered the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and multiple Patriot air defense systems to the region. The WSJ report said Israel has agreed to hold off its invasion until the additional air defenses are put in place, which could be completed at the end of this week.

Later on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a ground invasion was coming but didn’t say when. “We are preparing for a ground invasion. I will not elaborate on when, how or how many. I will also not elaborate on the various calculations we are making, which the public is mostly unaware of and that is how things should be,” he said.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that US troops based in Syria and Iraq had come under attack 13 times within a week, causing dozens of minor injuries. The deployment of so many air defenses to the region demonstrates that the US expects the situation for the US troops to get much worse.

The US has said Iran is responsible for the attacks on US troops because its “proxy forces” are behind them, referring to Shia militias in Iraq and Syria. But there’s no indication Iran has ordered the attacks, which the Pentagon has acknowledged, and the militias are capable of acting independently.

The US has also deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups, two amphibious vessels carrying thousands of Marines, and additional fighter jets to the region. The implication is that the US might directly intervene if Hezbollah or other regional actors enter the war.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.