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US condemns attacks on Israel, vows defense support

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The United States on Saturday “unequivocally” condemned attacks by “Hamas terrorists” against Israel and promised to ensure the key US ally has the means to defend itself.

President Joe Biden was briefed on “the appalling Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel,” the White House said in a statement, adding that he was in close contact with Israeli partners as the situation developed.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an air, sea and land attack on Israel earlier Saturday.

“The United States unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement, adding that “there is never any justification for terrorism.”

Israel said it was at war with Hamas following the surprise dawn attack from the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Watson said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the United States’ “unwavering” commitment to ensuring Israel was able to enforce its right to defend itself.

“Over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism,” Austin said.

Since its foundation, Israel has received lavish US military aid — more than $125 billion, according to a US State Department report from 2021.

Palestinian militants carry a victim following an Israeli air strike at the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. (Photo by BASHAR TALEB / AFP)

This has helped it build “one of the world’s most capable, effective militaries and turned the Israeli military industry and technology sector into one of the largest exporters of military capabilities worldwide,” the report said.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also spoke to Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi on Saturday and will continue to stay in touch, according to the White House statement.

Before Saturday’s assault, President Biden had been hoping to transform the Middle East — and score a pre-election diplomatic victory — by securing recognition of the Jewish state by Saudi Arabia, the guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites.

AFP

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