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Biden confirms 14 American deaths in Hamas attack

By Lalit K Jha
October 11, 2023 09:47 IST
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United States President Joe Biden Tuesday said the Hamas' attack on Israel is an 'unadulterated evil unleashed on the world', and added that at least 14 American citizens were killed in the incident.

IMAGE: Explosions are seen, following Israeli strikes in Gaza City, on October 10, 2023. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

Biden also said it was Hamas' stated purpose to annihilate the state of Israel and kill Jewish people.

"There are moments in this life -- and I mean this literally -- when pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world. The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend. The bloody hands of the terrorist organisation Hamas -- a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews," Biden said in his address to the nation from the White House.


The US president has earlier vowed his administration's 'rock solid and unwavering' support to Israel.

The United States has launched a major global diplomatic drive to garner support for Israel and take necessary action against Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Hamas launched a wave of attacks on Israel on Saturday, killing hundreds of people, in the biggest escalation in the conflict in decades.

Israel has already responded with a wave of air strikes on Gaza, killing over 800 people.

Biden said the US has also enhanced its military force posture in the region.

"This was an act of sheer evil. More than 1,000 civilians were slaughtered -- not just killed, slaughtered -- in Israel. Among them, at least 14 American citizens were killed. Parents butchered (who were) using their bodies to try to protect their children. Stomach-turning reports of babies being killed. Entire families slain. Young people were massacred while attending a musical festival to celebrate peace," he said.

Asserting that Hamas' action in Israel was terrorism, Biden said they resemble the 'worst rampages of ISIS'.

"It's abhorrent. The brutality of Hamas -- this bloodthirstiness -- brings to mind the worst, the worst rampages of ISIS. This is terrorism. But sadly, for the Jewish people, it's not new," he said.

"This attack has brought to the surface painful memories and the scars left by a millennia of antisemitism and genocide of the Jewish people. So, in this moment, we must be crystal clear. We stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. And we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack. There is no justification for terrorism. There is no excuse," the US president said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony J Blinken said that he will travel to Israel and Jordan from October 11-13, where he will meet with senior officials.

"The Secretary will reiterate his condolences for the victims of the terrorist attacks against Israel and condemn those attacks in the strongest terms. The Secretary will also reaffirm the United States' solidarity with the government and people of Israel. He will also discuss measures to bolster Israel's security and underscore the United States' unwavering support for Israel's right to defend itself," said the State Department.

Blinken spoke with Israeli President Isaac Herzog to reaffirm unwavering the US' support for Israel's right to defend itself. He reiterated his condolences for all those killed or injured and for those still missing.

In his address, Biden said that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people's right to dignity and self-determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the state of Israel and the murder of Jewish people, and added that they use Palestinian civilians as human shields, he said.

"Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed with no regard to who pays the price. The loss of innocent life is heartbreaking. Like every nation in the world, Israel has the right to respond," Biden said.

Biden also added that he spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the third time since Hamas' attack.

"I told him if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming," he said.

On Tuesday, the first plane carrying US armaments landed in southern Israel, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said.

'The first plane carrying US armaments has since arrived at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel this evening,' posted IDF on X.

However, the IDF did not reveal the kinds of weapons or military equipment it received.

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Lalit K Jha
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