At least 11 Americans have been killed in the eruption of fighting in Israel, a statement by President Joe Biden said Monday afternoon.
“It’s heart wrenching,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. “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.”
Officials released no details on their deaths including their identities or where they were killed.
Biden said fallout from the violence was already being felt in US cities.
“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,” he said.
US citizens have moved to Israel in ever greater numbers in recent years, and have chosen to live in settlements more often than others, according to the Times of Israel. At least 4,000 Americans moved to Israel in 2021, the Times said, the highest number since the 1970s.
In all, about 200,000 Americans are believed to live in Israel, with close to a million visiting every year.
Massive Attack From Gaza
At least 1,300 have died in the first two days of fighting after a massive, coordinated attack by Hamas terrorists into Israel. The attack, launched Saturday morning from Gaza, was a coordinated assault of artillery rockets, drone attacks on border posts and Israeli troops, and squads of heavily armed terrorists intent on widespread killing of civilians.
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In one instance, the Tribe of Nova music festival appears to have been attacked, with at least 200 partiers found dead. Stories are widespread of Israeli civilians hiding in their homes as murder squads went to house to house looking for victims. Kidnapping also appears to have been widespread.
US and Israeli Military Reaction
Israel’s military — which is largely funded and supplied by the US — has jolted into war, with over 100,000 reserves mobilized over the weekend. Jets and helicopters from the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, pounded Gaza targets through the weekend as salvos of rockets arched out of the Palestinian territory toward Israel.
The US has announced a massive naval deployment to the region.
Task & Purpose will update this story as events in Israel develop.
UPDATE: (October 9, 2023); This story was updated with an updated to include the deaths of 11 and a statement from President Joe Biden.
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