Biden slams Hamas’s Atrocities—another ISIS, as Aircraft Carrier Strike Group arrives in Eastern Med, Blinken heads to Israel
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – On Tuesday, the first U.S. work day following Hamas’s assault on Israel on Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden, in a televised address, denounced Hamas in the strongest terms possible.
Also on Tuesday, the administration announced that a U.S. aircraft carrier and its accompanying battle ships, the USS Gerald R. Ford Strike Group, had arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean.
And the State Department announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would visit Israel on Wednesday, before he traveled on to Jordan.
Biden: Hamas’s Slaughter of Israels: “Pure,Unadulterated Evil”
Biden has never before, as a public official, used such strong, derogatory language as he did on Tuesday, in denouncing Hamas’s assault on Israel.
Such language underscored his shock, horror, and dismay at Hamas’s bloody rampage. “There are moments in this life,” Biden began, “when the pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world.”
“The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend,” he continued, at “the bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas.”
“The brutality of Hamas — this bloodthirstiness — brings to mind the worst — the worst rampages of ISIS,” he stated.
Indeed, on Saturday, after Hamas succeeded in breaking through the high technology fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip, it tried to murder as many Israelis as possible: women, children, grandmothers, grandfathers. It did not matter.
“More than 1,000 civilians slaughtered,” Biden continued, “not just killed, slaughtered in Israel. Among them, at least 14 American citizens killed.”
Over 20 sites in southern Israel, near the Gaza Strip, were attacked, The New York Times reported. People were killed indiscriminately: “waiting for the bus, dancing at a festival, doing morning chores and hiding as best they could,” it said.
The Times detailed several of the assaults. One agriculture commune, Kibbutz Be’eri, was attacked at 6:00 AM on Saturday. Over 100 Israelis were killed.
A music festival was being held in the desert, some three miles from the Gaza border. Shortly after sunrise, “hundreds of Palestinian gunmen” broke through the barriers separating Gaza and Israel, before opening fire, killing more than 100 youngsters, the Times reported. In addition, an unknown number were seized as hostages and taken to Gaza.
Another attack occurred in the village of Kfar Azza in what the Times called “a bloody killing spree.” It described the village as “one of the worst sites of the bloodshed.”
“Soldiers and rescue workers said scores, possibly hundreds, had been slaughtered here, including grandparents, infants and children,” the Times stated.
There were similar scenes in over 15 other sites in the country, and by Tuesday night, the Israeli death toll had risen to 1,200.
Jake Sullivan: It is Personal
Very rarely do U.S. officials experience an event like Hamas’s assault on Israel. Perhaps, in recent times, the 9-11 attacks are comparable, although they were over 20 years ago.
Yet in the shock of such stunning events, the officials in charge have to quickly produce a coherent, rational way of confronting a calamitous attack.
Moreover, in addressing reporters on Tuesday, Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor, stressed, “This is personal for us. And it’s personal for the American people with their bonds with the Israeli people.”
“All of us have developed close relationships with our Israeli counterparts,” Sullivan stated. “President Biden has a decades-long relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and he can hear the pain in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s voice, when he talks with him.”
“I hear the pain of my counterparts, when I talk to them,” Sullivan added.
Air Force Carrier Strike Group in Eastern Med; Blinken to Israel
On Sunday, the day after the Hamas attack, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group was moving to be closer to Israel, and on Tuesday, U.S. officials announced that it had already arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The carrier supports eight squadrons of attack and support aircraft and is accompanied by a guided missile cruiser, as well as three guided missile destroyers.
In addition, it was reported on Tuesday that a second aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, originally slated to deploy to Europe, might, instead, join the first group in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Moreover, as CENTCOM Commander, Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, added “efforts to increase U.S. posture continue, including the rapid movement into theater of U.S. Air Force F-15s, F-16s and A-10s to augment existing fighter squadrons in the region.”
Washington is concerned about the possible expansion of the war between Israel and Hamas. U.S. officials worry that other parties hostile to Israel might join the fight in support of Hamas.
The purpose of the U.S. military movements, as Kurilla stated, is to prevent any such developments. And as Sullivan made clear, the U.S. military build-up is not aimed at Hamas. Rather, it is “a clear message of deterrence to other states or non-state actors that might seek to widen this war,” he stated.
In addition, the State Department announced on Tuesday that Blinken would travel to Israel on Wednesday, before going on to Jordan. His visit to Israel is clearly aimed at coordinating a response to Saturday’s attacks, but the purpose of his visit to Jordan is not so obvious.