Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that the United States is currently working to verify reports of American casualties in the surprise attack launched by Hamas fighters from Gaza on Israel. Blinken emphasized that detained Americans will be a top priority for the government, the administration, and himself. While acknowledging the need to confirm the reports, he also referred to this attack as the most severe one on Israel since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
As a potential response, Blinken mentioned the possibility of announcing additional aid to Israel today based on specific requests made by the Israelis. President Joe Biden has expressed unwavering support for Israeli security and assured that the United States will provide the necessary assistance for their citizens to defend themselves effectively.
However, obtaining approval for additional funding from Congress may face challenges due to the absence of a House Speaker following the recent removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy from this position. Rep. Michael McCaul (R, Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, aims to elect a new Speaker this week so that essential matters like replenishing the Iron Dome can be addressed promptly.
The Iron Dome: Protecting Israel from Missile Threats
The Iron Dome is the name given to Israel's air missile defense system. With $3.3 billion already available in foreign military appropriations, urgent action is needed by the House. Representative McCaul has been collaborating with Ranking Member Gregory Meeks on a bipartisan resolution to condemn Hamas for their actions against Israel.
Israeli Response to Hamas Attacks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu has promised to retaliate against Hamas, leading to a series of airstrikes on Gaza. U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, in an interview on CBS' Face the Nation, described Hamas' attack as unprecedented and brutal. Hamas deliberately targets civilians, brutally massacres them on the streets and in their homes, and even kidnaps them across the Gaza border.
Prioritizing Civilian Safety
Secretary Blinken reiterated the expectation for Israel to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties in their actions against Gaza. Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Herzog, reported that the death toll includes 600 Israelis, including families, seniors, and children. Additionally, it is known that there are Americans among the hostages held by Hamas.
Misjudgment by Hamas
Ambassador Herzog revealed that the Israeli Embassy has been inundated with calls from individuals eager to return to Israel and fight against Hamas. He proclaimed that Hamas made a serious misjudgment in assuming that Israel had been weakened due to internal political debates.