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Hamas attacks on Israel killed nine American nationals, says US State Department

An undetermined number of US citizens remained missing or unaccounted for, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. Over 700 people, including 73 soldiers have been killed in Israel so far.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: October 09, 2023 21:39 IST
The Israel-Hamas war has claimed more than 1,200 lives so
Image Source : AP The Israel-Hamas war has claimed more than 1,200 lives so far

The US Department of State on Monday confirmed that nine Americans have been killed after Hamas launched a devastating barrage of rockets on Israel on Saturday morning, plunging the nation into chaos.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that an undetermined number of American citizens remain missing and unaccounted for. The department was in touch with the kin of victims and providing all appropriate consular assistance, he added.

Earlier, a US official on Sunday said that the number of American casualties ranged between six and 12. 

Hamas militants launched over 4,000 rockets at Israel from Gaza and infiltrated the country by air, sea and land, gunning down several civilians and soldiers. Over 130 people were taken captive by militants, according to Palestinian militant groups.

Israel formally declared a state of war and launched retaliatory airstrikes and struck over 1,000 targets in Gaza to prevent more infiltrations, levelling down numerous buildings. The death count in the conflict crossed 1,200, including 700 killed by Hamas in Israel and 500 killed in Israel's retaliatory strikes on Gaza.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has ordered a 'complete siege' on Gaza, saying that authorities will cut off access to electricity, food and fuel in the area. Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli soldiers continued in and near Kfar Aza, Be’eri, Nirim, Shaar Hanegev, Nir Oz, Alumim and Holit areas.

As of now, the Israeli military said that it has largely gained control in its southern towns where it had been battling Hamas gunmen, although gunbattle continued in some places. 

Tanks and drones were deployed to guard breaches in the border fence to prevent new incursions. Thousands of Israelis were evacuated from more than a dozen towns near Gaza, and the military summoned 300,000 reservists — a massive mobilization in a short time.

US sends carrier strike group to assist Israel

The United States, a crucial ally of Israel, has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel against the surprise attack by the Palestine-based Hamas.

The USS Gerald R. Ford has close to 5,000 sailors and a deck of warplanes along with cruisers and destroyers that will be sent to Israel in a show of force to respond to anything, from possibly interdicting additional weapons from reaching Hamas and conducting surveillance.

The Virginia-based carrier was already positioned in the Mediterranean. It was conducting naval exercises with Italy in the Ionian Sea last week. It is arguably the most advanced US aircraft carrier. The US is also making efforts to increase the presence of fighter jets in the region.

US President Joe Biden had earlier condemned the attacks on Israel. "Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation," he said.

“We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks. The US unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. There is never any justification for terrorism,” said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

(with AP inputs)

ALSO READ | Israel orders 'complete siege' on Gaza, cutting off access to electricity and food as war continues


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