The United States Navy is moving aircraft and warships closer to Israel after a massive, unprovoked assault on the country from Hamas terrorists, confirmed a U.S. military official.
President Joe Biden firmly affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself after the surprise attack on Sunday, which killed at least 800 Israelis and wounded at least another 2,000.
The Pentagon hasn’t clarified if it would use military force to assist Israel in the conflict. Israel formally declared war on Hamas on Sunday, in its first declaration since 1973.
In the attack, Hamas militants infiltrated Israel in an unprecedented attack and fired over 3,500 rockets in residential areas from the Gaza Strip. According to Israel’s national rescue service, hundreds of people were killed in the terrorist attack, with hundreds more wounded.
In a video, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is “at war” and called for a massive military response. The attack was carried out on Simchat Torah, a holiday.
U.S. response to the attack on Israel
The U.S. is already in the process of delivering help to Israeli Defense Forces after an unprecedented attack from Hamas, said President Biden to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu and Biden spoke by phone Sunday morning, with the President offering his sincere condolences for the loss of hundreds of Israeli lives.
Biden said assistance is coming, with more following in the coming days, although the Biden administration hasn’t clarified what the assistance will entail.
“The President again expressed deep sympathy for all those missing, wounded, and killed and pledged his full support for the Government and people of Israel in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists. They discussed the taking of hostages by Hamas terrorists, including entire families, the elderly, and young children. The President emphasized that there is no justification whatsoever for terrorism, and all countries must stand united in the face of such brutal atrocities,” said a White House statement regarding the call.
“Biden updated the Prime Minister on the intensive diplomatic engagement undertaken by the United States over the last 24 hours in support of Israel,” continued the statement. “The two leaders committed to stay in regular contact over the coming days.”
Israeli Defense Force International Spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht gave an update on Israel’s response to Hamas’ attack. Hecht says the attack virtually ignored military targets, instead going after civilians, with dozens of Israeli citizens being taken hostage. Hecht added Israel’s response to the attack will be “very, very severe.”
“They attacked us on the ground, in the air, and through the sea,” said Hecht. “They didn’t go for military targets; they went for civilians. They went for grandmothers, children, babies. This event is still unfolding. The numbers are unprecedented.”
“We are going to respond very, very severely to this. In the upcoming, it’s going to be a long round. We are going to do whatever is needed. This style of attack is barbaric. The visuals are ISIL. In a way, this is our 9-11,” added Hecht.
The death toll is likely to rise as Israeli forces push into the affected territory and carry out operations to rescue hostages.