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US forces in Middle East brace for fallout of Israel-Gaza conflict

Pentagon officials have been increasingly concerned about the potential for wider conflict across the Middle East should Hezbollah and other Iran-backed groups open up new fronts against Israel in a war with Gaza.
USS Ford

WASHINGTON — Sirens blared and civilians sought shelter in northern Israel on Wednesday amid reports that aerial objects had entered the country’s airspace from Lebanon. But fears that Hezbollah had opened a new front in Israel’s war with Gaza were quickly proven unfounded when the IDF declared a false alarm.

The Pentagon’s top general, CQ Brown, and White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby both said Wednesday the United States has seen no sign of outside groups joining in the fighting.

“We have not seen to date another actor intentionally try to widen the conflict,” Kirby said during a press briefing from the podium.

Yet the prospect of Iran-backed groups like Hezbollah taking advantage of Israel’s operations in Gaza to launch their own attacks remains a realistic scenario, one that could carry the potential for violence to spread across the Middle East, with US troops potentially in the crosshairs, current and former officials said.

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