Pentagon Preparing to Evacuate Americans From Lebanon as War Fears Escalate

( – The United States is starting to take steps to facilitate the expedient evacuation of Americans in Lebanon amid increasing tensions in the Middle East, particularly with the stirring of Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah against Israel’s continued armed foray in the Gaza strip.

Official have said that several U.S. vessels, along with military and special operations units, are either on standby or are taking positions in strategic areas in the region to ensure that U.S. citizens will have an escape route if all-out war breaks out between Israel and Hezbollah.

The vessels include the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, as well as the USS Oak Hill, a dock-landing ship. Also available to assist will be the 24th Expeditionary Unit of the U.S. Marines, who are also special operations capable. The combined efforts are meant to facilitate protocols for a Military Assisted Departure if the need for one arises. The deployment of the vessels and the unit is also meant hopefully serve as a means to temper rising tensions in the region, according to U.S. officials.

Despite still being heavily engaged against Hamas forces in Gaza, the Israel Defense Force has seen an increase in incidents of border skirmishes and clashes with armed parties belonging to Hezbollah. Given Israel’s generally aggressive stance against similar incidents in the past, U.S. officials are worried that it might just be a matter of time before Israel conducts airstrikes and a ground attack against Lebanon.

The U.S. initially supported Israel’s offensive against Hamas, but the rising number of civilian casualties have prompted the Biden administration to call on the Jewish state to declare a ceasefire in the region. While Israel has allowed some aid to pass through into Gaza’s war-torn areas, the country has not scaled back its offensive, which has led to incidents where aid workers have lost their lives. The U.S. is also calling on Israel to call in its chips and hold back from attacking Hezbollah, but the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has rebuffed repeated entreaties from the U.S., saying that it intends to create a 10-mile buffer region between Lebanon and Israel.

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