US President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to follow the “rules of war” after he vowed to destroy the militant group Hamas following its attack last week. Saturday.
The president, who sent a US aircraft carrier to the region as a sign of support for Israel, also warned Iran, the sponsor of Hamas, to “be careful” amid the escalation of the conflict.
Biden said during a White House meeting with leaders of the American Jewish community that the attacks in Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed according to the country’s military, amounted to “the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.”
Biden said he spoke with Netanyahu earlier Wednesday as Israel responded to airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which Palestinian officials said killed more than 1,000 people.
The US president said he has known Netanyahu for 40 years and they have a “frank relationship.”
“And the only thing I told him was that it is very important that Israel, with all the anger and frustration … that exists, operates under the rules of war,” he said.
It was the first time Biden made any kind of call for deterring Israeli retaliation for what he called “pure evil” in the Hamas attacks on Saturday.
Netanyahu has previously vowed to completely destroy the Palestinian militant group.
“Every member of Hamas is a dead man,” the veteran Israeli right-wing leader said, comparing them to the Islamic State group.
– “Be careful” –
But Biden also issued a stern warning to Iran, which backs Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and is a longtime enemy of Israel and the United States.
The president recalled that Washington moved the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, and its fleet to the region. US officials say another ship of the same type will soon be available if needed.
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Biden clarified: “We made it clear to the Iranians. Be careful.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Israel earlier Wednesday in a show of solidarity with that country.
Although fears of a regional confrontation have grown, US officials say they have not yet seen any intelligence indicating that Iran was involved in planning the Hamas attack.
At least 22 Americans were killed in the attacks by the Palestinian group, while an unknown number of citizens of that country were among the 150 people – including women, children and the elderly – who taken hostage by the militants.
The Hamas attack on Israel raised fears of domestic attacks in the United States and raised concerns about a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the country.
Biden said Tuesday that U.S. authorities are on alert and that security has been stepped up around Jewish community centers.