Iranian Media Claims 5,000 American Troops Involved in Expanded Israeli Incursion into Gaza as Tehran warns US of ‘new fronts’ in Middle East…

FILE PHOTO: US Army soldiers prepare to go on patrol from a remote outpost in northeastern Syria, May 25, 2021. ©  John Moore / Getty Images/RT

Iran has warned the United States of America it could face dire consequences in the Middle East if it continues to support Israel, according to multiple news outlets. The warning comes amid claims 5,000 US troops are involved in the ‘expanded’ Israeli incursion into Palestinian territory.

Multiple news outlets quote Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as saying Washington’s reluctance to change course could lead to a region-wide escalation.

Several thousand US troops have taken part in Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, the Iran-based Tasnim News Agency reported on Saturday, [October 28, 2023]. The Pentagon has recently announced plans to significantly reinforce its military presence in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas conflict and tensions with Iran.

According to Tasnim News Agency security sources, Israel’s assault on Gaza involved three divisions and several brigades and was also underpinned by 5,000 US military personnel. The outlet, however, did not provide details about which troops took part in the offensive or what functions they performed, according to RT News.

Tasnim said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attempted to enter the enclave from several areas in the north, west, and southwest “to split the Gaza Strip into two or three sections and cut off the connection among the Palestinian resistance forces before launching the next stage of the war.”  But the news agency did not specify what results the Israeli military had achieved so far.

However, Hamas said on Saturday that it had managed to thwart Israel’s assault, claiming to have repelled it with heavy losses. Meanwhile, the IDF stated that it was “advancing through the stages of the war” in Gaza, with fighting still ongoing. It noted that no soldiers had been injured in the “expanded” ground operations.

After Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, [2023], the US military scrambled to reinforce its presence in the region. The Pentagon has sent two aircraft carriers with supporting vessels to the area, as well as “activated the deployment” of THAAD and Patriot air defense systems.

Last week, the US also said it had ordered more than 2,000 additional troops to prepare to deploy in support of Israel in its conflict with Hamas. On Thursday, [October 26, 2023] the US said that it would deploy 900 soldiers to the Middle East. US officials, however, insisted, that none of the troops would go to Israel, and are rather “intended to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster US force protection capabilities.” 

The decision to send reinforcements also came as the US conducted airstrikes on two facilities in eastern Syria allegedly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups. US President Joe Biden said it was a response to recurring attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria. Tehran maintains that militant groups in those countries are acting independently.

Other reports quote Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as warning that the US could face dire consequences in the Middle East if it continues to support Israel. The Foreign Minister’s comments came amid ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas, and following American strikes on military sites in the region allegedly used by Tehran’s forces.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian speaks during a press conference with his counterpart from South Africa Naledi Pandor in Tehran on October 22, 2023. ©  ATTA KENARE / AFP/RT

Washington “is advising others to show self-restraint, but it has sided with Israel totally,” the minister said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Friday [October 27, 2023], according to RT News. Amir-Abdollahian also cautioned that the continued bloodshed in Gaza “will make the situation get out of control in the region.” 

“The American side should decide – does it really want to escalate, intensify the war?” he asked.

The foreign minister went on to deny that Iran had instructed militant groups in Iraq and Syria to attack the US, insisting that they were acting on their own. “They’re not receiving any orders from us, any instructions,” he said.

On Thursday [October 26, 2023] , the Pentagon said it had launched airstrikes on two facilities in eastern Syria allegedly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite branch of Tehran’s military, and affiliated groups. Later, US President Joe Biden stated that the raid was a response to recurring attacks on US forces in the region.

Commenting on the Hamas-Israel conflict, Amir-Abdollahian warned that West Jerusalem would face consequences if it were to launch a ground invasion into Gaza.

“Opening of new fronts will be unavoidable and that will put Israel in a new situation that will make it regret its actions,” he said, adding that “anything is possible and any front can be opened up.”

On Friday [October 27, 2023], the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it is “expanding ground operations” in the Palestinian enclave, which is already reeling from relentless air and missile attacks. The statement came amid reports by several media outlets that the US is concerned that a full-fledged Israeli ground attack on Gaza could draw Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Islamist military group with close ties to Iran, into the conflict.