The US administration sent a Marine three-star general and several more US military officials to Israel to help advise the Israeli forces on the ground offensive in Gaza based on the US officers’ experience in operations against ISIS, Axios reported on Tuesday.
“The Marine Corps officers sent include Lt. Gen. James Glynn… Glynn previously headed the Marines’ special operations and was involved in the operations against ISIS in Iraq,” Axios reported citing US and Israeli officials briefed on the topic.
The report stressed that Glynn and the US military officials “are not directing operations but they do provide military advice to the IDF about its plans in Gaza.” It added: “This has been primarily focused on Israel’s expected ground invasion. The American officers have shared lessons the US has learned from fighting ISIS in Mosul.”
Glynn is not expected to stay in Israel to follow the IDF ground invasion, sources with direct knowledge of the issue told Axios.
A Pentagon spokesperson said: “We have asked several officials with relevant experience simply to help Israeli officials think through the difficult questions ahead and explore their options. The IDF will, as always, make its own decisions.”
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday: “There are a few relevant military officers with experience — the kinds of experience that we believe is appropriate to the sorts of operations that Israel is conducting and may conduct in the future to go over there to share some perspectives from their own experience and to ask the hard questions — the same hard questions that we’ve been asking of our Israeli counterparts since the beginning.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview with CBS on Sunday: “So we’ve talked to the Israelis about what they’re planning. We give them our best advice. It’s important, as we’ve said, not only what they do but how they do it, particularly when it comes to making sure that civilians are as protected as they possibly can be in this crossfire of Hamas’s making.”
He added: “But in terms of what we’re talking to Israel about in their – with regard to their military operations, it really is focused on both how they do it and how best to achieve the results that they seek.”
It’s unclear when Israel will launch the operation in Gaza. This week, the IDF has told the Israeli government that it is fully prepared for a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip after 16 days of airstrikes, according to the Times of Israel.
“The [Israeli] military was looking to the government to make a decision soon regarding the ground offensive, as forces stationed by the border can only remain in a heightened state of readiness for so long. But the military understands that there may be additional considerations — such as the issue of the hostages — which may lead to delays,” the Times of Israel reported.