Over the weekend, United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the Pentagon was deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile battery and Patriot missile battalions to undisclosed locations in the eastern Mediterranean in response to “recent escalations” Iranian-backed terrorist proxies over the war between Israel and Hamas.
In a statement released over the weekend, the Defense Secretary said he ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group to join the USS Gerald R. Ford group in the Central Command area, asking further forces to be prepared to deploy to the region “as part of prudent contingency planning.”
Austin said that the steps taken by the Pentagon would “bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for U.S. forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel.”
A spokesperson from the Department of Defense referred to the Secretary of Defense’s statement.
The Secretary’s comments came as Irani-backed militias in Iraq and Syria conducted several drone attacks on American military personnel, in a stark show of targeting U.S. interests.
In Tehran, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Israel to cease its attack against Hamas or threatening that Tehran would activate proxies throughout the region to attack U.S. and Israeli forces.
The Patriot system is considered one of the most advanced American air defense systems and is usually in short supply.
The THAAD system contains a powerful radar.
Last week, a U.S. destroyer shot down multiple missiles off the coast of Yemen fired by Houthi rebels against Israel.
On Saturday, Hezbollah terrorist fighters enacted several attacks on Israeli military installations on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, including anti-tank missile strikes. The IDF confirmed civilian and military deaths due to the latest attacks but did not disclose how many died.
As the Israeli government prepares to send its military forces into Gaza continue its hunt for Hamas terrorists, military officials are evacuating civilians and strengthening Israel’s northern border in anticipation of a major attack from Hezbollah.