इंडियन आवाज़     30 Nov 2023 03:16:04      انڈین آواز

US: President Biden condemns as “abhorrent” the Hamas attack on Israel

says it was “as blood thirsty as the worst rampage of the ISIS”

T N ASHOK in Washington

US President Joe Biden condemns as “abhorrent” the Hamas attack on Israel, saying it was “as blood thirsty as the worst rampage of the ISIS”

Washington, October 10: (CNN) — US President Joe Biden today condemned as “abhorrent” the Hamas attack of Israel in Gaza and said “ the brutality of Hamas’ bloodthirstiness” brought to mind the worst rampages of ISIS”, even as he confirmed 14 americans were killed and probably more were taken as hostages.

In an angry but emotional address from the White House to the press, President confirmed Tuesday that Americans are known to be among the hostages held by Hamas after its rampage over the weekend, and denounced the terror wreaked on innocent civilians by the Hamas thus making clear he expected a forceful reprisal by Israel.

The president in his 10 minute address elaborated on the atrocities committed by the militants, saying they had “butchered” and “massacred” innocents. Biden said the known number of Americans killed now stands at 14.

Biden’s speech was designed to ensure there is little daylight between the US and Israel at a moment of deep crisis. The president made no equivocation about the attacks and made no call for restraint by Israel as it responds, apart from insisting it follow the rule of law, CNN reported.

Calling the intrusion of Hamas into Israel and killing innocents as “sheer evil” , Biden warned other governments in the region not to step into the fray to exploit the situation: “I have one word: Don’t.” He repeated the word Don’t twice as if to warn Iran and the terror outfit Hezbollah, more dangerous than Hamas in their outreach and strategies, not to get involved.

Biden said he had spoken earlier with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and offered his own view of what the country’s response might look like. “I told him that if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming,” Biden said from the State Dining Room.

CNN reported that the news that several Americans, who had made Israel their second home, were among the hostages taken by Hamas since the attack began on Saturday confirmed what had largely been assumed by US administration officials, but had not been validated until Biden’s speech.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, later said that the administration believes there are “20 or more Americans” believed to be missing from Israel Tuesday, but that is not what the US believes is the number held as hostage by the Hamas.

Biden said he was directing his team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the US government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts.

“As president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being a hostage around the world,” he said.

The president made it clear there was no place for politics on this issue and affirmed his intention to ask Congress to approve more funding for Israel to help it defend its territory and people. “This is not about party or politics, it’s about the security of our world, the security of the United States of America,” he said.

Biden said his administration will not allow Israel to run out of ammunition and interceptors for its Iron Dome air defense system, which is intended to shoot rockets out of the air before they strike Israeli territory.

As the President spoke from the podium in the dining hall of the White House to the press, he was flanked by the Vice President Ms.Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who have been privy to more than 17 meetings that Biden has held with the national security council members in the war room.

The discussions were most substantive since the outbreak of violence early Saturday. Within hours of the deadly Hamas attack on Israel that left hundreds of people dead, the president was on the phone with Netanyahu. He has spoken with him three times since the violence began, CNN reported.

When Biden’s counterpart, reeling from one of the worst attacks on his country in decades, brought up the possibility of going into Gaza, the president offered no warnings to him against doing so, a US official briefed on the conversation claimed. That decision by the president to hold back from urging Netanyahu to exercise restraint in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in no small part reflects the sheer shock and breadth of Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel that makes this moment different, officials say.

“We are not urging restraint right now,” one official said.

In his remarks, Biden insisted any response must adhere to the rule of law, saying that is what differentiated Israel and the United States from the Hamas militants. “Terrorists purposely target civilians, kill them. We uphold the laws of war. It matters. There’s a difference,” Biden said.

Sullivan later told reporters the two leaders “had the opportunity to talk through the difference between going full bore against Hamas terrorists and how we distinguish between terrorists and innocent civilians.”

The president and his national security team are aware that Israel will in all likelihood make a ground incursion into Gaza. Over the past 72 hours, officials have acknowledged what a deeply tenuous position that possibility puts the US administration in. As a general matter, the US has historically urged for a ceasefire on all sides when conflicts have broken out in the region, officials said .

The Biden administration generally handles such discussions privately behind closed doors and officials said this time will be no different.

Biden’s first written statement over the weekend did not include the term “ceasefire” – an omission that struck current and former administration officials alike. During his speech, Biden said the violence unleashed by Hamas was reminiscent of some of the worst attacks by ISIS in the previous decade.

“The brutality of Hamas, this blood-thirstiness, brings to mind the worst, the worst rampages of ISIS – this is terrorism, but sadly, for the Jewish people it’s not new,” Biden said. “This attack has brought to the surface painful memories and the scars left by millennia of anti-Semitism and genocide of the Jewish people, so in this moment, we must be crystal clear, we stand with Israel.”

On the domestic front, Biden said the law enforcement officials “have stepped up security around centers of Jewish life,” while “working closely with state local law enforcement and Jewish community partners to identify and disrupt any domestic threat that could emerge in connection to these horrific attacks, media reports said

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