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These guys make al-Qaeda look pure, says Biden on Hamas attack

By Lalit K Jha
October 14, 2023 10:37 IST
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President Joe Biden has said Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which attacked Israel and killed over 1,000 people, is worse than al-Qaeda, the terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks, as he reaffirmed that the US stands with the Jewish state.

IMAGE: A burnt armored vehicle is abandoned, following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Kibbutz Beeri in southern Israel, October 13, 2023. Photograph: Amir Cohen/Reuters

At least 27 American citizens have died and 14 remain unaccounted for as a result of unfolding violence in Israel triggered after Hamas carried out unprecedented attacks in Southern Israel last Saturday.


The Israel defense forces in response launched multiple attacks targeting Hamas' key infrastructure. So far, over 2,000 people have been killed in Israel and the Gaza Strip in the biggest escalation in decades between the two sides.

"The more we learn about the attack, the more horrifying it becomes. More than 1,000 innocent lives lost, including at least 27 Americans," Biden said in Philadelphia.

"These guys make -- they make al-Qaeda look pure. They're pure evil. Like I said from the beginning, the United States, make no mistake about it, stands with Israel. The United States stands with Israel," he said on Friday.

Biden said his administration is making sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself and respond to these attacks.

He also said it is his priority to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel yesterday, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is there today (Saturday)," he said.

Biden said at his direction, his teams are working in the region, including communicating directly with the governments of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and other Arab nations, and the United Nations to surge support and humanitarian consequences for Hamas attacks to help Israel.

"We can't lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas and Hamas' appalling attacks, and their suffering as a result, as well. This morning, I spoke with the family members of all those Americans who are still unaccounted for, on a Zoom call, for about an hour and 10-15 minutes," he said.

"They're going through agony not knowing what the status of their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and children are. You know, it's gut-wrenching. I assured them my personal commitment to do everything possible - everything possible to return every missing American to their families," he said.

Biden said his administration is working round the clock to secure the release of Americans held by Hamas, in close cooperation with Israel and US partners around the region.
"We're not going to stop till we bring them home," the president asserted.

During a press gaggle, White House Principal Deputy Secretary Olivia Dalton said the US continues its significant engagement as it stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel and would make sure that they have every level of support in the days and weeks ahead.

The United States continues to aggressively work with Egypt and Israel to navigate the possibility and create the conditions for the possibility of corridors for both safe passage for civilians who want to leave Gaza and flee the danger and also for humanitarian corridors to allow humanitarian assistance that is critically needed to replenish stockpiles within Gaza, the senior US official said.

"Both of these things are critically important. We continue to talk to our Egyptian and Israeli allies about the importance of those things also with the UN," Dalton said.

"Hamas continues to engage in tactics like using tunnels under residential buildings to conduct their operations, holing up in hospitals and mosques and schools. This is a terrorist organisation with no regard for human life, with no regard for civilians. It is barbaric and brutal, and we've got to continue to call it out," he said.

Armed Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip blasted through the Israeli security fence and streamed into Israel by land, air and sea on Saturday, in what is now described as an unprecedented assault.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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