US expects Israeli-Hamas war to escalate, rushes strike group to region: Live updates

The Biden administration expects the Israeli-Hamas war to expand and U.S. personnel could be targeted, two members of the Cabinet warned amid an increasing U.S. military presence in the region.

The safety concerns were raised just days after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. will redeploy a strike group to the Persian Gulf and send additional air defense systems to the region. And last week Austin ordered 2,000 troops to prepare for deployment to the Middle East amid increasing tensions since Hamas militants stormed across the border in a killing rampage of Israeli citizens Oct. 7.

The Biden administration has warned Iran, Hezbollah and other foes of Israel to stay out of the war. But Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that might not happen.

"What we're seeing is the prospect of a significant escalation of attacks on our troops and our people throughout the region," Austin said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." He said U.S. troops are doing "what's necessary" to ensure they have the ability to respond.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed Austin's concerns, telling NBC's "Meet the Press" that "we expect that there's a likelihood of escalation" by Iranian proxies directed against U.S. forces

"We are taking steps to make sure we can effectively defend our people and respond decisively if we need to," Blinken said.

Blinken said he does not want to see a second or third front develop, which could happen if Lebanon-based Hezbollah joins the fray.

"We don't want to see our forces or our personnel come under fire," he said. "But if that happens we are ready for it

'Glimmer of hope':Second aid convoy arrives in Gaza; Israel expands attack. Live updates


∎Police arrested two people after one of them allegedly fired a shot and another pepper-sprayed pro-Palestinian protesters outside a pro-Israel rally at a banquet hall in the Chicago suburb of Skokie

∎The Israel Defense Forces said Monday that 222 families of hostages have been notified, including "quite a few" foreign nationals. The total rose from 212 on Sunday.

∎ The chief executive officer of next month's influential European tech conference Web Summit has resigned amid backlash after he criticized Israel on social media, saying "war crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies, and should be called out for what they are." Paddy Cosgrave said his comments had become a distraction.

Palestinians look for survivors of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah on Oct. 23, 2023.

Is US behind delay in Israeli ground invasion of Gaza?

The United States has urged Israel to delay its much-anticipated ground invasion of Gaza to encourage hostage negotiations, improve the flow of humanitarian aid and to allow the U.S. to prepare for attacks on "U.S. interests" in the region, according to multiple media reports.

The New York Times and CNN, citing Biden administration sources they did not name, said the U.S. remains fully supportive of Israel in the war and supports the planned ground invasion.

Fast-moving events" since the release of two American women Friday has the Biden administration suggesting the Israelis allow time to negotiate for the release of hostages, the Times reports. The U.S. also has been leading the charge for establishment of a steady flow of aid to Gaza from Egypt. Convoys have crossed into Gaza the last two days, but international aid teams say the flow must be increased to combat the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the territory.

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