President Joe Biden on Tuesday denounced Hamas and stressed U.S. support for Israel as it mourns the killing of more than 1,000 people, including at least 14 Americans, from a surprise attack launched by the Palestinian militant group.
The president also voiced concern for Americans being held hostage by Hamas, an Iranian-backed Islamist group.
“There are moments in this life and I mean this literally when the pure unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world. The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend,” Biden said.
“This is an act of sheer evil,” he said.
Israel pounded the Gaza Strip on Tuesday with the fiercest air strikes in its 75-year-old conflict with the Palestinians, razing whole districts despite a threat from Hamas militants to execute a captive for each home hit without warning.
Biden spoke after his third phone call in four days with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He outlined in his remarks the U.S. military assistance being sent to help Israel in its fight.
Biden also offered an overview of the actions the United States is taking with allies around the world to support Israel.
The White House on Monday said it expected to fulfill additional security requests from Israel as quickly as possible.
The United States does not plan to put American military forces on the ground, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters. Israel has called up an unprecedented 300,000 of its own reservists.
Biden and Netanyahu, despite differences on the way forward in the Middle East, have been thrust into a wartime partnership following the multipronged attack by Hamas militants from Gaza into Israel.
Biden also offered support for American Jews and said they should be allowed to worship in peace in the United States. Biden said last month that antisemitism in the United States had risen to record levels.
Israel’s embassy in Washington said the death toll from Hamas’ weekend attacks had surpassed 1,000, dwarfing all modern Islamist attacks on the West since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.