In a national address on Wednesday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that a ground invasion of Gaza remains part of Israel's strategic plans, with a specific time frame established, though he did not reveal that time frame.
“We are preparing for a ground incursion. I won’t specify when, how, or how many. I also won’t detail the range of considerations, most of which the public is not aware of. And that’s the way it is supposed to be. This is the way, so that we protect our soldiers’ lives,” said Netanyahu. “The timing of the operation was determined unanimously by the war cabinet and the chief of staff.”
This update follows the Biden administration's advising Israel earlier this week to put a temporary hold on its ground invasion, as reported by the New York Times. The purpose of this advice was to grant the U.S. additional time to complete hostage negotiations, deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians, and ensure troops are better prepared to counter potential attacks from Iran-backed groups as Israel advances into Gaza.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon’s Press Secretary, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, stated that he anticipates a rise in violence and cited 13 attacks on U.S. troops and installations in Iraq and Syria.
“What we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel across the region in the very near term, coming from Iranian proxy forces and ultimately from Iran,” said Ryder. “We always reserve the right to defend ourselves, and we will never hesitate to take action when needed to protect our forces and our interests overseas.”
Hamas has not released all the hostages, and as a result, it has also contributed to postponing any potential ground invasions.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, during the attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Hamas took 222 people hostage. To date, only four of them have been released.
The White House has confirmed its active collaboration with regional partners to secure the release of the hostages and ensure the safe evacuation of foreign nationals from Gaza, but it has stated that it fears the conflict has the potential to escalate into a broader regional crisis, which is why, on Tuesday, officials announced a "prudent contingency plan" to evacuate Americans from the Middle East.
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