Washington: The US has no intention to send ground troops to Israel amid its war with the Palestinian group Hamas, the White House said Monday.
“There’s no intention to put US troops on the ground,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters during a virtual briefing, adding however that the US will protect and defend its national security interests “wherever those interests are, including, particularly in that part of the world.”
Kirby said the first tranche of security assistance to Israel is “already on the way.”
“We’ll have more assistance to announce over the coming days to ensure that no enemies of Israel believe that they can or should try and seek advantage from the current situation,” he added.
Asked about the possibility of Iran’s involvement in the attacks by Hamas, Kirby said there is a “degree of complicity” as Tehran has been supporting the group for many years.
He added, however, that the US has not seen “hard, tangible evidence that Iran was directly involved in, participating in, or resourcing, planning these sets of complex attacks that Hamas pulled off over the weekend.”
The US will “keep looking at it,” Kirby said, while noting that Israeli officials claimed they had yet to find a “smoking gun.”
Kirby said they cannot corroborate reporting in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday which claimed that Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s attack on Israel.
On normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, he said: “We still believe that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia is not only good for the people of those two nations but for the American people and for everybody else in the region.”
“And we have every intention to continue to encourage a process where normalization can occur,” he said.
“I couldn’t speculate now as to what impact the events of the last 36 hours is going to have on those efforts, but nothing’s changed about our continued desire to pursue that kind of an outcome.”