The Pentagon on Monday did not deny a report that said roughly 2,000 U.S. troops were told to be “prepared to deploy” if needed to assist Israel in its war against Hamas.
“I don’t have more to provide at this time. I might be able to give you more details later, but at this time, I just don’t have anything more specific to add,” said Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh, when asked about the report during a press gaggle.
The report, by the Wall Street Journal, outlined roughly 2,000 troops have been told to prepare for potential deployment to support Israel. Those troops would include those already currently stationed in the Middle East and Europe, of which there are tens of thousands. The report said it is unclear how many would go into Israel.
Officials told the WSJ the troops are tasked with missions like advising and medical support. No specific types of troops were specified, only that they are “from across the U.S. armed services.”
According to the report, “They aren’t intended to serve in a combat role, the officials said. No infantry have been put on prepare-to-deploy order.”
Israeli Defense Force spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus on Monday said Israel would not request for U.S. soldiers to fight in Israel.
“The fighting will be done by the IDF,” he said, according to Visegrad 24.
Spokesman of the @IDF, Lt. Col. @jconricus says that Israel is grateful to the USA for the help it receives through intelligence sharing & shipments of military aid, but that it won't request a single U.S. soldier to fight in Israel.— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 17, 2023
"The fighting will be done by the IDF"
Singh said there is already a small team augmenting the military presence at the U.S. embassy in Israel, to assist with hostage recovery efforts.
“On hostage recovery, as you’ve heard us say, we’re providing planning and intelligence support to Israel, which is in the lead. We do not have — we do have a small number of personnel in Israel in support of this effort, as augmentation to the embassy staff,” she said.
“I characterize it as an advise and assist role. They are there to help support and provide intelligence to the Israeli Defense Force, when it comes to hostage recovery. I wouldn’t get into more details, other than that, but it is really to advise and assist,” she said.
There is an unknown number of American hostages in Gaza, after Hamas militants launched terrorist attacks across southern Israel, reportedly killing more than 1,300 and kidnapping more than 100, including Americans.