At least 14 US citizens, some of the dual nationals with Israeli citizenship as well, are confirmed dead at the hands of Hamas terrorists who invaded southern Israel on Saturday.
The figure was confirmed Tuesday by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in a White House briefing with reporters.
In addition, at least 20 “or more” Americans are still missing, Sullivan said, adding, “that does not mean necessarily that there are 20 or more American hostages. Just that is the number that is currently unaccounted for.”
President Joe Biden said in remarks to the nation Tuesday at the White House that the US will “share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts.”
In addition, Biden said his administration has been “surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome,” vowing to “make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.”
Biden said he had spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day, for a third time since Hamas terrorists launched a full-scale invasion and war against the Jewish State.
The president reiterated during the call that the United States stands by Israel and fully supports its right to defend itself. The prime minister thanked the president for his unequivocal support and made it clear that a powerful and prolonged campaign – which Israel will win – will be necessary, Netanyahu’s office said.
“Since our last conversation, the scale of this evil has only grown,” Netanyahu said. “They took dozens of children, bound them up, burned them and executed them. They beheaded soldiers. They mowed down these youngsters who came to a nature festival and just put five jeeps around a depression in the soil, and like Babi Yar, they mowed them down, making sure that they killed everybody.
“We’ve never seen such savagery in the history of the State. They’re even worse than ISIS and we need to treat them as such,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s other leaders also expressed their gratitude to the president following his strong address of support earlier in the evening (Israel time).
“All of us in Israel are strengthened and moved by your words, President Biden,” Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “Thank you for your friendship and for your unwavering support, today and always.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog also thanked the American president, writing in a tweeted statement, “On behalf of the entire people of Israel, thank you Joe Biden. You have shown once again what a great friend you are of Israel, its people, and the Jewish People as a whole. We are truly grateful.”
As Biden noted in his remarks, the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group — the world’s largest aircraft carrier — arrived Tuesday night (local time) off the coast of Israel, placing considerable US assets within the operational zone of the conflict.
In addition, the State Department announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Israel on Thursday as a further show of solidarity with the Jewish State.