Israel to delay Gaza incursion awaiting arrival of US troops to Middle East: Report

Israel has agreed to delay the invasion of the Gaza Strip at the request of the US until more American troops are deployed to the region, the Israeli army radio reported on Monday.

Israel has decided to “delay the ground war” in Gaza, pending the arrival of additional American forces to the region, the report said.

“The United States has conveyed to Israel its intention to deploy additional American forces to the Middle East, in readiness for a ground operation due to concerns over the escalating Iranian attacks against its forces in the region,” it added.

The US announced shortly after the ongoing conflict started that it would be deploying 2,000 marines to the Middle East alongside two aircraft carriers, in support of Israel.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin over the weekend stated he was placing additional troops on prepare-to-deploy orders after previously placing 2,000 soldiers in a heightened state of readiness.

On Sunday, the New York Times reported American officials say the US has advised Israel to delay the planned ground invasion of Gaza.

Citing several officials, the NYT the suggestion was made to allow a window for more people held in Gaza to be released and for life-saving aid to enter the besieged enclave.

Israel has imposed a “full siege” on Gaza for over two weeks, cutting supplies of food, water, fuel and electricity to the 2.3m Palestinians living there. Human rights groups criticised the move as a form of collective punishment that may amount to a war crime.

A total of 34 aid trucks entered Gaza over the weekend, which comprise less than one percent of the relief needs, according to Palestinian officials.

Meanwhile, Hamas’ release of two American women from their custody last week has raised hope that more foreigners could be set free soon.

Hamas announced it intends to release all non-Israelis in their custody with no conditions. However, they suggested the intense Israeli bombing in Gaza is impeding the process.

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