“Sadly, we now know that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed — many of whom made a second home in Israel,” Biden said in a statement.
He emphasized how people are still accounting for “the horrors of the appalling terrorist assault against Israel this weekend” as well as the “hundreds of innocent civilians who were murdered.”
Biden did not disclose any names, but Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced on X that at least one of those killed came from his state. “Learning now that a Missouri native, a musician, wife & mother, was among those killed by Hamas terrorists in Israel, along with her husband,” he said.
Israel has declared war on Hamas and has launched strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip. The conflict may expand as Lebanon’s Hezbollah has reportedly begun to trade fire with Israel.
“We didn’t want this war,” said Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu. “It was forced upon us in the most brutal and savage way. But though Israel didn’t start this war, Israel will finish it.”
Netanyahu thanked leaders around the world for their support. He specifically expressed gratitude to Biden as well as the Congress and people of the United States.
Officials have reported more than 1,500 people have been killed and thousands more wounded in Israel and Gaza amid the conflict. In addition, dozens of people are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas, and the group has threatened to execute the prisoners in response to air strikes on Gaza.
U.S. officials “know that American citizens still remain unaccounted for, and we are working with Israeli officials to obtain more information as to their whereabouts,” Biden said, adding that his administration believes “it is likely” American citizens may be among the hostages held by Hamas.
“I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts,” he said.
Biden said to American citizens who are currently in Israel that the State Department is providing consular assistance and security alerts.
“For those who desire to leave, commercial flights and ground options are still available. Please also take sensible precautions in the days ahead and follow the guidance of local authorities,” he added.
Biden said many American families “are feeling the pain of this attack as well as the scars inflicted through millennia of antisemitism and persecution of Jewish people,” and noted how police in cities around the country have stepped up efforts security around Jewish centers and that federal officials are “closely monitoring for any domestic threats in connection with the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel.”
In closing, Biden called on the American people to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis” and said U.S. citizens are “unwavering” in their “resolve to oppose terrorism in all forms.” The president also said the United States and the State of Israel “are inseparable partners.”