Pentagon places 2,000 troops on heightened alert as war rages in Middle East

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Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Pentagon places 2,000 troops on heightened alert
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It's unclear at this time if Fort Liberty troops are included in the latest move by the Department of Defense to prepare for deployment.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Pentagon placed 2,000 American troops on a heightened state of readiness, informing them they could be deployed to the Middle East in the near future.

The Prepare To Deploy Order (PTDO) is for two identified units to be ready on 24-hour notice, instead of the typical 96-hour notice.

SEE ALSO | Israel-Gaza live updates from ABC News

Local troops at Fort Liberty are often among those first deployed, but at this time two U.S. officials tell ABC11 that the 18th Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division have not been given orders to fly out anywhere.

The PTDO advances the Department of Defense's ability to quickly react to developments in the fighting happening in Israel and Gaza. It's part of a signal to Iran and Hezbollah that the U.S. is ready to provide reinforcement to Israel if needed.

"Our priorities, our objectives in supporting Israel is making sure that Israel has what it needs through our security assistance, sending a continued strong message of deterrence that should any other actor think of entering the conflict, that they think again and that we are being mindful and vigilant of any threats to our US forces," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said.

Still, the DOD emphasized that no decision has been made about deploying forces at this time.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he is continuing to assess the situation.

A spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps released the following statement:

"We will not speculate on future force posture or discuss troop movements due to operational security. However, the XVIII Airborne Corps, stands ready to deploy in support of any contingency around the world when the nation calls."

Military leaders said it's important for the U.S. to defend Israel's moves against Hamas.

"We have to remember that this attack is considered their (Israel's) 9/11. They have every right and should respond to the terrorists that killed innocent people," Singh said.

SEE ALSO | President Biden visiting Israel, Jordan as concerns mount that Hamas conflict will spread

President Joe Biden will travel to Israel and on to Jordan Wednesday.