The Pentagon said Friday that it has pulled some 120 US military personnel amid Israel-Gaza tensions and internal violence in Israel, doing so “out of an abundance of caution,” according to The Hill.
During a press conference, Defense Department Secretary John Kirby said the US Central and European Command staffers flew on a C-17 aircraft to an airbase in Germany, in order to prepare for the pickup.
“We made this decision to remove these individuals in coordination with our Israeli counterparts,” Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon during the press conference.
“These people from throughout the department were in Israel for a routine planning event” dealing with an upcoming military exercise, Kirby added.
Regarding the decision to withdraw, Kirby said that it was done “Out of an abundance of caution and good prudence … we ended that planning conference a little early and got them safely to Germany.”
The Hill reported that Kirby is not considering at the moment the withdrawal of additional US troops stationed in Israel. According to the initial report by CNN, the decision to remove troops was made in light of continued violence between Israel and Hamas, which has limited commercial flights landing in Israel.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration on Friday reiterated that it was working toward de-escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a lasting peace in Gaza.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters the administration was focused on leveraging US relationships in the region to end the crisis between Israel and the Islamist militant Hamas diplomatically. Reuters contributed to this report.
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