A senior defense official has commented on the recent Hamas attack on Israel from Gaza, describing it as more severe than previous incidents. The attacks have resulted in the deaths of numerous Israelis, including 11 Americans, according to President Joe Biden. Additionally, Hamas has kidnapped individuals from Israel and taken them to Gaza.
President Biden has expressed concern that American citizens might be among those held by Hamas and has instructed his team to collaborate closely with Israeli authorities on various aspects of the hostage situation, including intelligence sharing and deploying experts from the United States government to assist in hostage recovery efforts.
The senior defense official emphasized the unprecedented brutality of this Hamas attack, comparing it to the violence associated with ISIS. The official mentioned the burning of houses and the massacre of young people at music festivals as particularly disturbing aspects of the violence.
In response to the attack, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has reaffirmed the United States' unwavering support for Israel's right to defend itself. The U.S. government has been in contact with allies and partners in the Middle East and Europe to convey this message and discourage any potential escalation of the conflict by adversaries.
Secretary Austin has also been in communication with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to receive updates on the situation and assess Israel's defense needs. The United States is increasing its support to Israel by providing air defense capabilities and munitions, with a focus on expediting delivery of equipment that Israel had previously ordered.
The U.S. is also strengthening its presence in the region by deploying the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. This strike group, along with additional Air Force fighter aircraft, is intended to demonstrate U.S. support for Israel's defense and serve as a deterrent to potential adversaries like Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah.
While there is no concrete evidence of Iran's active involvement in the conflict, the official noted that Iran has historically supported Hamas and Hezbollah and has played a role in equipping, training, and guiding militant groups across the region, contributing to instability and violence.
In summary, the United States is taking significant measures to support Israel in the face of the Hamas attack and is working to deter any further escalation of the conflict in the region.