The US is deploying the THAAD system and strike group amid “recent escalations” by Iran

The US has deployed a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense battery and additional Patriot missile battalions to undisclosed locations in the eastern Mediterranean in response to “recent escalations” by Iran and its proxies in the war between Israel and Hamas, Lloyd Austin said .

In a statement released Saturday, the defense secretary said he also ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group to join the USS Gerald R. Ford group in the Central Command area and called for additional forces to be deployed to the region “as part of a… prudent emergency planning”.

He added that the steps he was taking would “strengthen regional deterrence efforts, increase the protection of U.S. forces in the region and contribute to the defense of Israel.”

Austin’s comments come as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq – a coalition of Iranian-backed militias – carried out two separate drone strikes on US positions in the country earlier Saturday, marking the fourth straight day of attacks on American forces in the Middle East marked.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense battery at an undisclosed location. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment of a system in the eastern Mediterranean as part of America’s deterrence in the region.
Lockheed Martin/Getty Images

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington DC-based military affairs think tank, said the attacks were “part of an Iranian-led effort to deter the United States from providing meaningful support to Israel.”

Iran has previously warned that a much-anticipated ground offensive by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip – following attacks on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad – as well as the deployment of the US Navy in the Mediterranean risk escalating the conflict.

However, the ISW said Iran had signaled “its reluctance to enter into direct conflict with Israel” and was instead “preparing for the Hamas-Israel war to expand into a regional conflict” and “would likely provide material and financial support to its proxies.” “Fight against Israel.

Israel reportedly carried out airstrikes on two airports in Syria, apparently in an attempt to curb arms shipments from Iran to militant groups in Syria and Lebanon, including the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Syrian state media reported that airstrikes on Sunday morning disabled runways at international airports in the capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is believed to have carried out such strategic attacks before, but has rarely acknowledged the operations and has not yet claimed responsibility for the recent attacks.

Newsweek reached out to the IDF via email on Sunday seeking comment.

On Saturday, Hezbollah carried out 11 attacks on IDF facilities on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, including attacks with anti-tank missiles, following small arms encounters earlier in the week. The IDF confirmed that there were civilian and military deaths in the recent attacks, but did not say how many.

“Hezbollah is playing a very, very dangerous game. They escalate the situation; “We are seeing more and more attacks every day,” IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said in an update Sunday morning. “Hezbollah is aggressive and is dragging Lebanon into a war from which it will gain nothing but lose a lot.”

According to weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the US Army currently operates seven THAAD systems.