The U.S. military has selected roughly 2,000 troops to prepare for a potential deployment to support Israel, U.S. defense officials said. The troops are tasked with missions like advising and medical support, the officials said, and they are from across the U.S. armed services. They aren’t intended to serve in a combat role, the officials said. No infantry have been put on prepare-to-deploy order.
The troops are currently stationed both inside the Middle East and outside, including Europe, the officials said. It isn’t clear under what circumstances the U.S. could deploy the troops or to where, but the Pentagon decision signaled it is preparing to support Israeli troops should Israel launch a ground incursion into Gaza. It is unclear how many of those troops, should they be deployed, would go into Israel. But the officials said that at least some of them could enter the country to support Israeli forces. A predeployment order doesn’t mean the troops will certainly deploy but rather shortens the time troops need to be ready to move.