IDF: US help is deterring all-out war with Hezbollah, will not stop our Gaza invasion

Increased US military presence in the region and upcoming visit of US President Joe Biden, is deterring Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah from launching a larger war but will not delay an Israeli ground offensive on Gaza, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari said on Tuesday.

“Dozens of US aircraft now in the region can each carry out around 160 attacks, exponentially increasing the threat to Hezbollah and Iran should [they] choose to join the Israel-Gaza war in a more aggressive manner,” Hagari said as cited by the Jerusalem Post.

Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem had said last week that international and regional calls for the group to stay out of the Hamas-Israel conflict will not be heeded. Additionally, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that no one can stop Muslims and the “resistance forces” if Israel continued to commit “crimes” in Gaza.

The IDF spokesman added that the US naval vessels with the UE Aegis system gave Israel an additional layer of defense against attack. Hagari stated that the highly advanced Aegis Combat System which is capable of tracking and guiding weapons to destroy targets is expected to be used by Israel for defense only.

“Neither Biden’s visit nor the visit in the last few days of other top US officials had or would delay the IDF’s invasion of Gaza – despite the fact that the IDF appeared prepared to invade Thursday-Friday of last week with a dramatic warning to Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours – with no real military change following that warning,” Hagari said.

Israel has declared that it will embark on a massive ground operation in Gaza in the coming days, potentially its largest in four decades, the Times of Israel reported. The IDF said on Saturday it was finalizing its preparations for a “coordinated attack from the air, sea and land.”

“Our responsibility now is to enter Gaza, to go to the places where Hamas is preparing, acting, planning, launching. Attack them everywhere, every commander, every operative, destroy infrastructure,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said.

In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, Biden said “Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas,” but warned that an Israeli occupation of Gaza would be “a big mistake.”

Biden is scheduled to travel to Israel on Wednesday “to demonstrate his steadfast support for Israel in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack and to consult on next steps,” the White House said.

He will also travel to Jordan where he will meet with King Abdullah, Egyptian President Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “He will reiterate that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination and discuss the humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza.”

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