Washington, Oct 10 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden promised on Tuesday that the US would support Israel in its response to Saturday’s Hamas attack, which caused an unprecedented escalation of violence with hundreds of deaths on both sides.
Speaking at the White House, Biden also confirmed that American citizens were among those kidnapped by Hamas and raised the number of American citizens killed in Israel to 14.
“At this moment, we must be crystal clear: we stand with Israel,” the president said in his speech, flanked by US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself and respond to this attack,” emphasized Biden, who assured that Washington will continue to provide Israel for the duration of its war against Hamas.
Specifically, he explained that the US is already sending Israel ammunition and the components it needs for the Iron Dome air defense system, which Israel has used against rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.
In addition, the United States has increased its military presence in the region by deploying fighter jets, including the sophisticated F-35 and F-15, and a group of aircraft carriers and destroyers to the Eastern Mediterranean, including the USS Normandy, equipped with anti-aircraft missiles, anti-surface, and anti-submarine missiles.
Biden began his speech by calling the Hamas attack “an act of sheer evil” and described scenes of horror, with young people massacred while attending a music festival and parents forced to hide with their children as Hamas militants roamed Israeli towns near the Gaza border.
He also took the opportunity to criticize Hamas’ methods, accusing it of using civilians in the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people, as a shield against Israel.
“There is no justification for terrorism. There is no excuse. Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination,” said the president
“Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed, regardless of who pays the price,” he added.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday morning to discuss coordinated efforts to assist the country.
“Israel has the right to respond, indeed has the duty to respond,” Biden said, adding that he’d told Netanyahu that if the US had been attacked in a similar way, “our response would be swift, decisive and overwhelming.”
Biden has held nearly 30 internal meetings and calls with US and international officials since the violence began, and said he would press Congress for “urgent action” when it returns to session.
The United States is on alert for possible attacks on synagogues and other centers of the Jewish community in its territory.
In this regard, Biden stated that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are coordinating with state and local police to identify any possible threat.
Israel responded to the Hamas attack on Saturday by declaring a state of war and bombing the Gaza Strip, marking the worst escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades.
The total death toll exceeds 1,700. On the Israeli side, the death toll rises to 900, and more than 100 people have been kidnapped and taken to Gaza.
On the Palestinian side, Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza have left 830 dead, plus 1,500 Hamas militiamen who died in Israeli territory after the army retook the towns captured in recent days. EFE