The United States confirmed on Monday that nine of its citizens were killed in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, with concerns that more may be missing and possibly taken hostage. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller made this announcement and stated that efforts are underway to determine the whereabouts of the missing individuals. US officials are closely monitoring the situation and maintaining communication with Israeli authorities.
The violence in the region has resulted in the deaths of numerous foreign nationals, including individuals from Thailand, Nepal, Ukraine, France, Britain, Canada, and Cambodia. Israel has suffered significant casualties, with over 700 reported deaths, while responding to Hamas’ extensive attacks by launching a series of airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 560 people there.In response to Hamas’ unexpected assault, which Israel has likened to the 9/11 attacks, Israel has imposed a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip and halted the water supply while continuing its bombardment of targets in the Palestinian enclave.
In a related development, the Pentagon said it was sending the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford and its accompanying warships to the eastern Mediterranean, while boosting fighter aircraft squadrons in the region.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, following discussions with US President Joe Biden, announced the deployment of forces to bolster regional deterrence efforts. In addition to the USS Gerald R Ford carrier, the US deployment includes a guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers.
“The United States government will be rapidly providing the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment and resources, including munitions,” Austin said as quoted by news agency AFP. The White House has swiftly reaffirmed US support for Israel after the deadly attack from the Gaza Strip, pledging “rock-solid” solidarity and calling for restraint from other parties to the conflict, following confirmation that “several” American citizens were killed.
President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday and pledged additional assistance for the Israeli Defense Forces, which is now on its way to Israel. “The leaders also discussed ongoing efforts to ensure that no enemies of Israel believe they can or should seek advantage from the current situation,” the White House said in a statement. President Biden “pledged his full support for the Government and people of Israel in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists”.