Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday the Biden administration is looking into reports of Americans being killed or taken hostage as Israel goes to war against Hamas following a surprise attack by the militant group from Gaza.
“We have reports that several Americans were killed. We’re working overtime to verify that. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans and there again, we’re working to verify those reports,” the top U.S. diplomat said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Biden Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the attacks in Israel: "We have reports that several Americans were killed … There are reports of missing Americans." pic.twitter.com/4eIMFkDvTG
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 8, 2023
Blinken said in a separate interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that assisting detained U.S. citizens abroad “is going to be a priority,” but he stressed that any reports must be verified first.
The assault on Israel began Saturday morning with rocket barrages and Hamas fighters crossing the border. Soldiers and civilians were taken captive, Israel’s military said on Saturday, though the exact number remains unclear as of press time.
Israeli forces engaged Hamas gunmen and were still reportedly fighting them within Israeli territory roughly 30 hours into the conflict. Israel has also engaged in retaliatory strikes against Hamas in Gaza and traded fire with Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border.
Officials have estimated hundreds of people have died and thousands are wounded in Israel and Gaza amid the fighting.
“We unequivocally condemn the appalling attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israel. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Blinken said in a post to X.
President Joe Biden, in a statement to social media, said he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “reiterated [his] unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”
The Biden administration is “looking at specific additional requests that the Israelis have made,” Blinken said on CNN, adding, “I think you’re likely to hear more about that later today.” Blinken also said Biden aims to “make sure that we’re providing Israel everything it needs in this moment to deal with the attacks from Hamas.”