The Defense Department remains focused on getting Israel the military capabilities it needs as it continues its battles against the Hamas terror group, said a senior defense official speaking on background.
DOD is also working with other government agencies, allies and partners to ensure the war with Hamas doesn’t spill over into the greater Middle East, the official said.
It has been a bit over three weeks since Hamas invaded Israel and killed more than 1,400 people and kidnapped 239 civilians, according to Israeli statistics. U.S. officials are working closely with Israeli leaders and with partners in the region to restore security in the region and work with all relevant groups to secure the release of the hostages, the official said.
The U.S. government is also working “with all relevant stakeholders” for the safe evacuation of American citizens from Gaza, she said.
Finally, the U.S. military is taking decisive self-defense military actions to defend U.S. forces that have been attacked by Iranian-backed groups in Iraq and Syria. “From Oct. 17 to Oct. 30, U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 14 separate times in Iraq, and nine separate times in Syria, through a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets, for a total of 23 attacks to date,” the senior official said. “Many of these attacks were successfully disrupted by our military. Most failed to reach their targets, thanks to our robust defenses.”
More resources are flowing into the U.S. Central Command area of operations to include defenses against drones and rockets, the official said. The command is “in the process of assessing the location and where those air defenses should go, based on requirements and the threat environment,” she said.
That Iran is involved in this whole conflict is no surprise, the official said, and the United States is concerned. The United States will continue its focus “on preventing regional escalation and a widening of this conflict,” she said. “We know that Iran cultivates a threat network that touches … the maritime space, the airspace and the land space.”
Iran supplies its proxies with drones and with training and weapons, they use to attack U.S. forces. Iran itself uses fast boats to harass shipping in the vital Persian Gulf.
The United States has increased its force posture in U.S. Central Command, but it also can rely upon allies and partners across the region. The United States has worked for years to build networked air and sea defenses in the region. “All of that is at play now,” the official said. “And it is fortunate that we have a platform of years of working together in order to deter and counter Iranian aggression.”