A potentially larger regional conflict in the Middle East has been prevented, as confirmed by a spokesperson from the Pentagon during a press briefing held in Washington. U.S. Army Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder shared his perspective, stating that the current situation in Washington is being viewed as a limited conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The Pentagon representative made this statement following a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese Islamist group. This was Nasrallah's first address since the attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7.
Notably, Nasrallah did not call for Hezbollah fighters to engage in a general war against Israel. He indicated that Hezbollah has been involved in sporadic low-intensity cross-border clashes since October 8. General Ryder emphasized the government's and the Ministry of Defense's primary focus on preventing the situation from escalating into a wider regional conflict.
He mentioned the deployment of additional capabilities in the region, including two aircraft carrier strike groups, to ensure a range of options in response to potential contingencies: "A key focus of our government and our Ministry of Defense has been to prevent this from becoming a wider regional conflict.
That is why we have deployed additional capabilities to engage, two aircraft carrier strike groups in the region, to have a range of options should we need to respond to contingencies situations" - stated General Ryder. He reiterated that the United States' primary objective is to restore stability and security to the region as soon as possible: "We see that, broadly speaking, a broader regional conflict has been averted.
We are not looking for any conflict with Iran. We do not want conflict in the entire Middle East region. Our focus is on containing this war and returning stability and security to the region as soon as possible."
The most important thing is that the killings of civilians stop and that evacuation be made possible
David Satterfield, the United States' special envoy, also provided insights, estimating that between 800,000 and one million people had relocated to the southern part of the Gaza Strip, while approximately 400,000 individuals remained in the northern region of the enclave, which covers an area of 365 square kilometers and is home to about 2.3 million people.
Over the past four weeks, the Israeli army had repeatedly urged civilians to evacuate Gaza City and move to the southern areas. Israel had initiated a ground offensive to target Hamas, which had constructed an extensive network of underground tunnels beneath the city's urban areas.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that they had eliminated numerous Hamas members in a statement released yesterday. Israeli forces claimed that Hamas had launched "several attempted attacks" from tunnels and military compounds in the northern Gaza Strip.
They also destroyed three Hamas observation points through tank fire. Notably, there are hundreds of U.S. citizens present in Gaza. It is currently estimated that there are several hundred American citizens in the Gaza Strip, along with around 1,000 citizens from European countries.
Around 600 American citizens were present in the Gaza Strip on October 7 when Hamas initiated the attack on Israel, followed by a complete blockade of the enclave within 24 hours. This blockade had led to the cessation of water, food, fuel, and electricity deliveries.
The Rafah border crossing, connecting the Gaza Strip and Egypt, was primarily open for humanitarian aid deliveries and the transfer of the wounded. A significant crowd had gathered at the crossing as foreign nationals sought ways to escape the conflict.