By DoD News
By Jim Garamone
The United States is flowing military supplies to Israel as the country battles against Hamas terrorists, President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
“We stand with Israel,” the president said during an announcement at the White House.
“There’s still so many families desperately waiting to hear the fate of their loved ones, not knowing if they are alive or dead or hostages,” the president said.
Hamas gunmen also kidnapped civilians and now leaders of the group have threatened to execute them. “The brutality of Hamas, its bloodthirstiness, brings to mind the worst rampages of ISIS,” Biden said. “This is terrorism.”
“We will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself and respond to this attack,” he continued.
“My team has been in near constant communication with our Israeli partners and partners all across the region and the world from the moment this crisis began,” the president said. “We’re surging additional military assistance, including ammunition, and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome. We are going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.”
Biden said that he will ask Congress “to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners. This is not about party or politics; this is about the security of our world, security of the United States of America.”
The United States has also enhanced its military force posture in the region to strengthen deterrence. DOD has moved the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean and bolstered fighter aircraft presence in the region.
These moves are not to deter Hamas, but any country or group that may think of taking advantage of the instability and confusion to pursue their own ends. “To any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of the situation, I have one word: Don’t,” Biden said. “Our hearts may be broken but our resolve is clear.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said there are U.S. citizens among the hostages Hamas has taken. “We are working with the Israeli government and with our regional partners on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the U.S. government to advise the Israeli government and coordinate with them on hostage recovery efforts,” he said during a White House news conference. “As the President … said, there is no higher priority than the safety and well-being of American citizens being held hostage overseas.”
Sullivan said military supplies are already flowing into Israel with interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense shield leading the way. “We will be flowing in additional Iron Dome interceptors so that [the Israelis] have the capabilities they need to sustain their Iron Dome defense systems,” he said. “We’re also looking at other ways that we can help augment their air defense capabilities.”
Sullivan said that Iran “is complicit in this attack, in a broad sense,” meaning Iran has long funded and trained and supplied the terror group.
Iranian leaders “have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement in contact with Hamas over years and years,” he said. “All of that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen now. As to the question of whether Iran knew about this attack in advance, or helped plan or direct this attack? We do not, as of the moment … have confirmation.”