Joe Biden sends military aid to Israel after Hamas attack


President Biden is sending additional military assistance to Israel following the Hamas attack on southern Israel.

The White House said Mr Biden had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the “unprecedented and appalling assault”.

The US was also working to verify reports its citizens were among those killed and taken captive, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Israel says more than 600 people have been killed and 100 kidnapped.

In Gaza, at least 313 people have been killed following retaliatory Israeli air strikes, according to Palestinian officials.

Further military aid to Israel would be sent in the coming days, the White House statement said, adding that the US was working to to ensure that Israel’s enemies would not try to seek advantage from the situation.

The Pentagon said it was sending fighter jets to the region and the US Navy was also moving several ships – including an aircraft carrier – into the eastern Mediterranean.

Mr Blinken said officials were looking at reports that US citizens had been caught up.

“We’ve got reports that several Americans are among the dead. We’re working very actively to verify those reports,” he told US TV on Sunday. Other countries including the UK, France, Ukraine and Thailand have also reported deaths

He told ABC that “this is a massive terrorist attack that is gunning down Israeli civilians in their towns, in their homes, and as we’ve seen so graphically, literally dragging people across the border with Gaza.

“So, you can imagine the impact this is having throughout Israel. And the world should be revolted at what it has seen.”

Hundreds of people are still reported missing following the attack. Among them is 23-year-old American-Israeli Hersh Golberg-Polin, who was at a music festival in the desert which was stormed by militants. His parents told the Jerusalem Post they received two messages from him reading: “I love you” and “I’m sorry.”

Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, told CBS News that he understood Americans were among the soldiers and civilians abducted in southern Israel but did not have details.

Hamas has said assistance from Iran helped it carry out its attack, which involved rockets, drones and militants on paragliders and saw hundreds of fighters break through Israeli border fortifications around the Gaza Strip.

Mr Blinken said the US had not seen evidence of Iranian involvement in the attack, but that Iran had been helping the Gaza-based group for years.

“Hamas wouldn’t be Hamas without the support that it’s gotten over many years from Iran. We haven’t yet seen direct evidence that Iran was behind this particular attack or involved. But the support over many years is clear,” he told US TV.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has expressed support for the Hamas attack, saying Israel needed to be held to account for endangering the region.

The US sends billions of dollars of military aid to Israel, a close ally, each year. Since World War Two, Israel has been the largest overall recipient of US foreign aid.

The UN Security Council is due to meet in New York shortly to discuss the violence in Israel and