Biden reveals ‘at least’ 11 Americans killed in Israel but still does not address the nation after maintaining public silence since Saturday
- President Biden remained silent Monday after it was revealed that Americans were killed in Hamas’ terrorist attack in Israel over the weekend
- He then released a lengthy statement stating at least 11 Americans were killed
- Biden had no planned appearances Monday
- Administration hosted a BBQ with live music for White House staff on Sunday
President Joe Biden released a statement Monday condemning ‘inexcusable hatred and violence’ in the terror attack on Israel, as he revealed that ‘at least’ 11 Americans have been killed in the carnage.
That number is two higher than the figure released by his administration on Monday morning.
Uncertainty remains over the number of American hostages now being held in Gaza.
Biden’s written statement on Monday came as he made no public appearances despite the unfolding situation involving the nation’s close ally Israel.
In the statement he said: ‘As we continue to account for the horrors of the appalling terrorist assault against Israel this weekend and the hundreds of innocent civilians who were murdered, we are seeing the immense scale and reach of this tragedy.
President Joe Biden made no public appearances Monday even as his administration confirmed 9 Americans were killed in Hamas’ terrorist attack in Israel over the weekend. Biden later issued a printed statement saying the number had grown to 11
‘Sadly, we now know that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed – many of whom made a second home in Israel.’
He also said it was ‘likely’ there are Americans being held hostage, pledging to work with Israeli forces to secure their release.
The statement comes as Hamas has threatened to start killing hostages if Israel launches an invasion of Gaza, which appears imminent.
Abu Obaida, a spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, the IQB, said: ‘We have decided to put an end to this and as of now, we declare that any targeting of our people in their homes without prior warning will be regrettably faced with the execution of one the hostages of civilians we are holding.’
The head of the Israeli Defense Forces has already threatened to lay siege to Gaza.
‘I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed,” said Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. ‘We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.’
White House national security official John Kirby confirmed earlier that the U.S. and Israel had been in touch.
Biden used his statement to speak in emotional terms about the devastation in Israel.
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from the city of Ashkelon, Israel October 8, 2023
Israeli emergency responders inspect a damaged car after a barrage of rockets that were launched from the Gaza Strip landed in the Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank October 9, 2023. ‘Sadly, we now know that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed—many of whom made a second home in Israel,’ said Biden
FILE – Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023
He said: ‘It’s heart wrenching. These families have been torn apart by inexcusable hatred and violence.
‘We also know that American citizens still remain unaccounted for, and we are working with Israeli officials to obtain more information as to their whereabouts. My heart goes out to every family impacted by the horrible events of the past few days. The pain these families have endured, the enormity of their loss, and the agony of those still awaiting information is unfathomable.’
‘The safety of American citizens—whether at home or abroad—is my top priority as President. While we are still working to confirm, we believe it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas. I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts.’
Biden said Americans stand ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with Israel, and said the U.S. State Department is providing consular assistance to the many U.S. citizens who may have been traveling there.
‘Please also take sensible precautions in the days ahead and follow the guidance of local authorities,’ he urged.
He cited close ties between the U.S. and Israel, in a relationship that goes back to minutes after Israel was founded. It is a relationship that also carries great weight in domestic politics. Biden also spoke of steps to guard against potential domestic threats and antisemitism.
‘This is not some distant tragedy. The ties between Israel and the United States run deep. It is personal for so many American families who are feeling the pain of this attack as well as the scars inflicted through millennia of antisemitism and persecution of Jewish people,’ Biden said. ‘In cities across the country, police departments have stepped up security around centers of Jewish life, and the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other federal law enforcement partners are closely monitoring for any domestic threats in connection with the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel.’
‘In this moment of heartbreak, the American people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis,’ he continued in his statement, which ran seven paragraphs. ‘We remember the pain of being attacked by terrorists at home, and Americans across the country stand united against these evil acts that have once more claimed innocent American lives. It is an outrage. And we will continue to show the world that the American people are unwavering in our resolve to oppose terrorism in all forms.’
With Biden keeping his head down Sunday and Monday, National Security Advisor John Kirby appeared on Fox, Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared on CBS Sunday after standing at Biden’s side Saturday, and security official John Finer was on CBS Monday morning.
John Finer told CBS News on Monday that Iran was ‘broadly complicit in these attacks’ but that the U.S. had not seen ‘any sort of direct involvement in the immediate attacks that took place over the last couple of days.’
Kirby also said Iran was ‘complicit’ while saying the U.S. had not evidence of Iranian involvement in the attack at this time.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that Hamas ‘wouldn’t be around in the way that it is without the support that it’s received from Iran over the years,’ but also said ‘we have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack.’
Earlier, Biden was lambasted for staying silent on Monday as war raged and nine Americans were confirmed dead in ‘Israel’s 9/11’.
The president delivered a speech lasting less than three minutes on Saturday condemning the brutal Hamas terrorist attack.
On Sunday, he was briefed that Americans were among the victims but he said nothing publicly all day, and still went forward with hosting a staff BBQ, featuring a live band, at the White House.
Then, on Monday morning, as the world awaited his response to the loss of American life, the White House said Biden would not be making any appearances for the second day in a row.
Meanwhile, other world leaders publicly expressed support for Israel.
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby assured on Monday that Biden was at the White House despite the lack of public events.
‘You’ve got to be sh****ing me?!? It’s Monday at noon,’ Donald Trump Jr. posted to X upon hearing news the president had decided not to make any remarks.
He added: ‘Our greatest ally in the Middle East is at war, women and children are being slaughtered and raped in the streets, and our imbecile president is checking out before lunch?’
Following an intense backlash, the White House was forced to release a detailed account of what Biden was doing Monday to respond to the conflict.
It included meeting earlier in the morning with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer, Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall, and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients.
‘He directed his team to follow up on coordination with Israel on all aspects of the crisis and to continue their work with regional partners to warn anyone who might seek to take advantage in this situation,’ a White House statement said.
‘This afternoon, President Biden will be speaking with several of our close allies about the latest developments in Israel and we will have more to share soon.’
In the last two days, Biden has posted several tweets from the official POTUS account about a wide variety of topics including student debt relief, taxing billionaires, creating good-paying union jobs and backing technology innovations.
He did post once on X about the ongoing conflict, writing: ‘This morning, I spoke with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] to express my full support for the people of Israel in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists.’
‘We will remain in close contact over the coming days,’ the president assured in the Sunday post. ‘The U.S. will continue to stand with the people of Israel.’
During the call, Netanyahu reportedly told Biden that a ground offensive in Gaza against Hamas is critical and there is no time for negotiations.
Instead of hearing from Biden on Monday regarding the American deaths, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates released a statement slamming Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for using the violence as an ‘opportunity’ to put the blame on the president.
‘At least nine Americans have lost their lives in these brutal terrorist attacks against the State of Israel. Hundreds of additional innocent people are dead,’ Bates wrote in a statement.
He added: ‘While apparently some individuals like Ronna McDaniel consider this loss of life and pain a great opportunity, most Americans see it as a horrific tragedy.’
‘As the administration provides assistance to the Israeli Defense Force, this is a moment in which all Americans, regardless of political views, should stand shoulder to shoulder with one of our closest allies. No one can ever welcome this kind of hideous behavior or try to divide our country when we need to be united.’
Republicans were quick to claim that Biden’s three-minute remarks on Saturday were not enough to show the extent of the U.S. support for Israel.
Hamas terrorists based in Palestinian enclave of Gaza launched a multi-front terrorist attack in Israel on Saturday, killing 900 Israelis in the three days so far of conflict
Pro-Palestinian protesters convened outside the White House over the weekend to seemingly show support for the heinous attacks against the Jewish State
They also blame Biden for the attack and say his un-freezing of $6 billion to Iran last month in exchange for the release of five Americans detained in Tehran is what funded the Hamas attacks.
Biden notably announced the release of these funds from the frozen account in South Korea on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks last month.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that he has yet to see evidence Iran ‘directed or was behind’ the Hamas attack.
Matt Miller, Department of State spokesperson, echoed the sentiment on Monday that there is no ‘direct intelligence’ that shows Iran was ‘directly involved in this terrorist attack.’
‘But that said, Iran has been a longtime supporter of Hamas,’ Miller clarified. ‘That’s why we’ve taken action to hold Iran accountable for its support of Hamas and other terrorist organizations.’
‘We will continue to examine what information we can about what directly led to these attacks and whether Iran or any other country may have been involved,’ he told CNN. ‘But at this point, we don’t have any evidence to confirm that.’
White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates did release a statement on Monday regarding the los of U.S. lives in Israel – but took the short statement to attack RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
Iran’s United Nations mission has denied Tehran’s involvement in Hamas’ terrorist operation.
It is unclear how many American citizens were injured in the attacks, and whether any are being held hostage by the Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
While the names of those killed are not yet released, State Department spokesman Matt Miller said Monday morning that the agency is in touch with their families ‘and providing all appropriate consular assistance.’
‘We cannot confirm that [Americans were taken hostage] at this point,’ he told CNN. ‘There are reports of that, but there are Americans who are unaccounted for, and our first priority is to locate those Americans, find out what their status is in the coming hours and days.’
As of Monday afternoon, more than 900 Israelis are confirmed dead – and on Sunday it was revealed more than 2,000 were injured in the attack. This does not include those still being held hostage in Gaza, the number of which is unknown but thought to be in the hundreds at least.
Source: Read Full Article