At least nine Americans were killed during the wave of attacks launched by the Hamas terrorist group in Israel on Saturday. The news also comes as Hamas claims that it has taken a number of Western hostages, which likely also includes Americans.
The State Department confirmed that nine Americans were among the more than 800 people massacred since Hamas began its wave of attacks Saturday.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in touch with our Israeli partners and the local authorities,” said a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Israel. “We are in touch with the families and providing all appropriate consular assistance.”
Furthermore, a spokesperson for the State Department said that it was unclear how many Americans were missing or potentially held hostage. The spokesperson said that the State Department does not yet “have solid information about either the number or where they might be.”
It is unclear how many hostages that Hamas took, although numerous videos posted on social media show the militants taking hostages on the streets of Israel. One estimate from over the weekend believed that more than 100 people were seized.
The White House received considerable criticism from House Republicans for its role in the Middle East conflict. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said that the president’s policy of “appeasement, including money for hostage deals must come to an end. His policy has only emboldened terrorists.”
Former House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announces a 5-point plan for U.S. to respond to the Hamas attacks on Israel: "Bidens policy on appeasement including money for hostage deals must come to an end. His policy has only emboldened terrorist." pic.twitter.com/QLNP0OO2oY
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 9, 2023
A number of congressional Republicans point to the Biden administration’s announcement of a $6 billion deal to release five Americans from Iranian custody. The plan, announced last month, would nominally allow Iran only to spend that money on food and medicine.
However, many Republicans point to the money that the $6 billion transfer could free up for Iran to fund organizations such as Hamas across the region. Tehran is a key backer of a number of groups considered to be terrorist organizations by the State Department, including Hamas, Hezbollah and a number of other groups in Iraq and Syria.