31 Americans killed in Israel, others held hostage by Hamas in Gaza
The number of Americans killed in the surprise Hamas attack on Israel has climbed to 31, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday. U.S. citizens are also among the hostages being held by the militant group in Gaza.
- At least 13 Americans were unaccounted for, Kirby said.
What they're saying: "I've directed my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts," Biden said last week.
- "Because as president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world," he added.
- "The brutality of Hamas' blood thirstiness brings to mind the worst rampages of ISIS. This is terrorism," Biden said in televised remarks on Tuesday.
Driving the news: Hamas militants invaded Israeli villages and towns on Saturday in its multiprong attack from land, air and sea. The Israeli military and much of the world were surprised by the attack.
- Unverified videos on social media show militants killing Israeli civilians and soldiers and taking others, including elderly women, hostage and bringing them to Gaza.
- A Hamas military wing spokesperson said on Saturday that all those who were kidnapped were being held in hideouts around Gaza, including in tunnels.
Zoom out: Several hours after the attack began on Saturday, Israel began launching retaliatory strikes on Gaza. Those strikes continue to ramp up.
- More than 1,300 Israelis and 2,670 Palestinians have been killed since the Oct. 7 attack. Thousands have been injured.
- The fighting comes after a year of escalating violence in the region, including in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
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Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details about the death tolls and number of missing Americans.