Deterrence in the Middle East is working, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said today.
She said the United States wants to see the war between Israel and Hamas contained to Gaza and not expanded to other areas of the region. As of today, “we have not seen this war spill over into other neighboring countries and into the region,” Singh said.
Iranian-backed groups in Syria and Iraq continue attacks on U.S. troops engaged in the defeat-ISIS mission, she said. “Since Oct. 17 through today, we are tracking that there have been 55 attacks on U.S. forces,” Singh said. “There have been 27 attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and 28 attacks in Syria.”
The Defense Department is tracking that 59 U.S. personnel received injuries in these attacks. “Approximately 27 personnel have been evaluated for TBI [traumatic brain injuries] and 32 for other injuries,” she said. “As of today, all 59 have returned to duty.”
Last weekend, Houthis affiliated with Iran shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle. “I am not going to broadcast any response or … get ahead of any response that the secretary [of defense] or the president might want to take,” she said.
U.S. forces responded to the attacks on troops with missions to hit targets in eastern Syria. “We conducted three different strikes,” Singh said. “And again, we will always reserve the right to respond at a time in place of our choosing in the future.”
Singh also addressed fighting in Gaza between Hamas terrorists and Israeli troops. She reiterated that the United States does not want to see firefights in hospitals. “We absolutely believe that hospitals should be places where people seeking medical treatment and attention need to be, and those places should be protected,” she said. “But … we do have information that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad uses some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including the al-Shifa hospital, as a way to conceal and support their military operations and hold hostages.”
The intelligence reports indicate that Hamas has tunnels underneath hospitals and uses them as command-and-control nodes in Gaza City. “They have weapons stored there and are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against the facility,” she said.