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Israel delaying its Gaza invasion to let US boost defense for protection of its troops in region: US media

The file photo shows Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli regime has agreed to delay its much-hyped ground invasion of the Gaza Strip to give time to the US to bolster its missile defense systems across the region to protect its troops, a US media report says.

A report by the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed American officials, said Washington has persuaded Israel to hold off the invasion until it deploys enough missile defense systems to protect its forces in the region.

"The Pentagon is scrambling to deploy nearly a dozen air-defense systems to the region, including for US troops serving in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to protect them from missiles and rockets. US officials have so far persuaded the Israelis to hold off until those pieces can be placed, as early as later this week," the WSJ reported.

The report further said Israel was also giving time to the ongoing diplomatic efforts to release Israeli captives held by Gazans.

"But the threats to the US troops are of a paramount concern, US officials said. US military and other officials believe that American forces will be targeted by various militant groups once the incursion begins," the paper said.

US bases in Syria and Iraq have come under repeated attacks in recent days, causing casualties. Those attacks have been claimed by anti-US Iraqi groups, who cite Washington’s support for Israeli atrocities.

The regime has been talking of a ground invasion of the strip since shortly after an October 7 operation by the Palestinian movement Hamas, which caught it flat-footed.

It drafted hundreds of thousands of reservists and amassed tanks and troops near the fence separating Gaza from the Israeli-occupied territories, vowing to wipe Hamas off the earth.

But over the past two weeks, it has so far refused to launch its attack. Israeli commanders have repeatedly said their forces are ready for the ground invasion and waiting for the political brass to greenlight the operation.

"The next stage of action...will come," Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokeswoman Tal Heinrich told Fox News on Wednesday. "We are consulting with international partners...and we will make the right decisions at the right time... (and) act decisively and judiciously."

Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions have expressed full readiness to counter the ground battle, warning that the occupying forces would come out as dead, wounded, or captured.

The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has also warned against the move, saying Palestinians will turn Gaza into a graveyard for Israeli troops.

Various countries have also warned Israel against going ahead with its plan.

On Wednesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi cautioned Israel against launching its ground invasion, and said displacing Palestinians from Gaza towards Egypt would be "extremely dangerous."

Turkey has also warned Israel against the operation, saying that it would lead to massacre.

US President Joe Biden also warned that the attempt to re-occupy Gaza would be a “big mistake," even though he approved the operation against the Hamas-led Palestinian resistance.

Qatar, which is leading mediation talks in coordination with the US on an exchange of captives between Hamas and Israel, has warned that an Israeli ground assault would make such a deal much more difficult.

Meantime, the regime has intensified its bombing of the densely-populated strip, with Palestinian officials saying a record number of Palestinians are being killed.

One overnight strike on Wednesday brought down several apartment buildings in Khan Younis.

The Palestinian death toll now exceeds 6,500, Gaza's health ministry said on Wednesday.

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