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'Have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children': Biden amid reports of 40 beheaded babies found

Biden called the Hamas attack on Israel “the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust,” and a campaign of “pure cruelty" amid reports of 40 beheaded babies found. He thanked the leaders for their efforts in combating anti-Semitism in the nation, and reiterated continued US support for Israel.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Washington Published on: October 12, 2023 14:12 IST
US President Joe Biden with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Image Source : AP/FILE US President Joe Biden with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the weekend attack by Hamas militants on Israel as the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust as the number of US citizens killed in the fighting ticked up to at least 22.

“This attack was a campaign of pure cruelty — not just hate, but pure cruelty — against the Jewish people,” Biden told Jewish leaders gathered at the White House.

Beyond the 22 known to have been killed, the State Department said at least 17 more Americans remain unaccounted for in a war that has already claimed more than 2,200 lives on both sides. A “handful” of US citizens are among the estimated 150 hostages captured by Hamas militants during their shocking weekend assault on Israel, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.

Biden sends his top diplomat to Israel

Signs of US support for Israel were seen across the administration, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelling there for meetings, Biden denouncing antisemitism in America and the US military moving a second aircraft carrier toward the Mediterranean Sea as part of efforts to prevent the war from spilling over into a more dangerous regional conflict.

Kirby said the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and its ships would be an “available asset” if necessary. The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s most advanced aircraft carrier, and its strike group have already arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The attack has raised questions about the role of Iran, the main sponsor of Hamas, and whether it was directly involved in the operation. But the US has collected information that suggests senior Iranian government officials were caught off guard by the multipronged assault, according to a U.S. official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

That piece of intelligence has informed White House officials publicly asserting that it has not yet seen evidence of direct involvement by Iranians in the planning or execution of the Hamas attack.

“We haven’t seen anything that tells they have specifically cut checks to support this set of attacks, or that they were involved in the training. And obviously, this required quite a bit of training by these terrorists,” Kirby said, though he added that the U.S. will continue to look at the intelligence “and see if that leads us to a different conclusion.”

Biden at the roundtable with Jewish leaders suggested the deployment of U.S. military ships was a not-so-subtle message to Iran and other actors in the region. “We made it clear to the Iranians: Be careful.”

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: 'Hamas will be wiped out as world crushed and eliminated ISIS': Israeli PM Netanyahu's stern message

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