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The United States has sent additional warplanes and ships to the Middle East amid heightened concerns about an imminent Iranian strike against Israel and a potential increase in violence that could affect American troops in the region, the United States said. US officials said on Friday.

“We are moving additional assets to the region to strengthen regional deterrence efforts and increase protection of U.S. forces,” said a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military movements and in course.

Tehran has blamed Israel for the April 1 strike on an Iranian site in Syria, which killed two Iranian military commanders, and vowed revenge. Israel has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.

“I am certain that the world sees the true face of Iran,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Friday, according to a ministry statement. “We are ready to defend ourselves on the ground and in the air,” he said.

The move reflects the Biden administration’s concern that its support for Israel’s war in Gaza could trigger broader violence in the Middle East. President Biden told reporters Friday that he expected an attack on Israel to come “sooner rather than later.” When asked what his message was to Iran, he replied: “Don’t do it.”

Iran’s threats – including a statement from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, that Israel “regrets this crime” – prompted the US embassy in Jerusalem to issue a security alert restricting the movements of government employees and their families.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin complained to his Israeli counterpart that Israel had not informed Washington before the attack in Syria, an escalation that the Pentagon sees as an increased risk to American forces in the Middle East, reported the Washington Post.

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Jacob Toukhy, a staff member of the US Agency for International Development mission in the West Bank and Gaza, was killed Friday near his home in Israel, according to an internal memo consulted by the Washington Post. USAID is working with the U.S. Embassy to obtain details about the death, the agency said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society accused Israeli forces fired bullets at one of their ambulances in the West Bank on Friday. Society too said Israeli forces assaulted one of their volunteer paramedics, who was later released and taken to hospital. The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkish public broadcaster TRT said Friday that two of its journalists were injured while reporting in Gaza after being hit by Israeli fire. Sami Shehadeh, a freelance cameraman for the Arabic channel TRT, was “seriously injured,” the statement said, adding that doctors amputated one of his feet. Zahid Sobaci, general director of TRT, said in a social media post that a second journalist, Sami Barhum, was in good health.

The Israeli military said Friday that trucks carrying food entered through a new humanitarian crossing into northern Gaza.. Israel announced the route this week in the face of international pressure to avert famine in the besieged enclave. It is unclear exactly how much aid was received.

At least 33,634 people have been killed and 76,214 injured in Gaza since the start of the war, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants and affirms that the majority of the dead are women and children. Israel estimates that around 1,200 people were killed in the October 7 Hamas attack, including more than 300 soldiers, and says 260 soldiers have been killed since the start of its military operation in Gaza.

Dan Lamothe, Bryan Pietsch and John Hudson contributed to this report.



News Source : www.washingtonpost.com
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