… the number should be zero of innocent civilians killed or harmed right now. Sadly, that’s not the case.United States National Security Council coordinator John Kirby in a White House press briefing on Wednesday providing an update on the Israel-Hamas war.
Big Picture: Following Saturday’s attack by Hamas (a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization) on Israel, at least 2,300 people have been killed and thousands have been wounded from both sides in a war that “is expected to escalate” (The Associated Press). On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said 17 Americans are currently unaccounted for and at least 22 have been killed as officials stress these numbers are likely to rise. Additionally, The AP notes, “More than 150 people have also been kidnapped by Hamas and other militant groups, which have fired thousands of rockets into Israel over the past five days.”
Senior Biden administration officials continue to emphasize the U.S.’ “ironclad” support for Israel (citing the recent decision to strengthen U.S. force posture in the Middle East, including augmenting aircraft squadrons and adding an aircraft carrier strike group in the region). U.S. officials have also noted that the U.S. is working on ways to ensure that Palestinians in Gaza receive humanitarian aid, as well as working with Egypt and Israel to establish a safe corridor for civilians to leave Gaza amid the fighting.
The White House (Transcript): Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby
by Leah Grainery, based in Texas