President Joe Biden confirmed on Tuesday that American citizens were among the hostages taken by Hamas after the week’s attack on Israel. In addition, he said the armed group is “pure evil” after the attack launched from the Gaza Strip killed hundreds of civilians, including at least 14 Americans.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone early Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the situation on the ground. Biden spoke of actions he and other allies have taken to support Israel after the attacks began and expressed horror at “disgusting” reports of torture inflicted by militants on innocent civilians.
“Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear,” Biden said. “Let there be no doubt. The United States supports Israel. “We will ensure that the Jewish and democratic State of Israel can defend itself today and tomorrow as we always have,” he added.
Biden has repeatedly emphasized his shock at the breadth and ferocity of the Hamas attack, a land, sea and air assault that has caught Israeli and American intelligence services by surprise.
Israel’s response left hundreds of Palestinians dead and injured in the Gaza Strip, a 365-square-kilometer (141-square-mile) blockade area, one of the poorest places in the world. The death toll is expected to rise as the violence continues.
Biden said he ordered his team to share intelligence and military experts to consult and advise the Israelis. He also confirmed that the United States believes there are Americans among the dozens of hostages taken by Hamas.
“As president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans who are being held hostage around the world,” Biden said.
The White House confirmed on Monday that it had begun delivering much-needed ammunition and military equipment to Israel, and that the Pentagon was reviewing its inventories to see what else could be sent immediately to bolster its ally. in the war against Hamas.
For its part, the State Department reported that the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, will travel to Israel this week to deliver a message of solidarity and support. It is expected to arrive on Thursday