Oct 10, 2023 - World

Biden will seek additional funds from Congress for military aid for Israel

Israeli forces establish heavily armed control points along the border as Israel tightens measures by the army. Photo: Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday called Hamas' attack on Israel "sheer evil" and said he will ask Congress to approve emergency funding for military assistance for Israel.

The big picture: The White House is concerned that the crisis among Republicans over electing a new House speaker will hamper the ability to approve new aid.

Driving the news: Biden made Tuesday's public remarks shortly after speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was their third phone call since the Hamas attack on Saturday.

  • Biden spoke as the Israeli security cabinet convened in Tel Aviv to discuss the fighting in Gaza and to approve additional plans for the counteroffensive.
  • Israeli officials confirmed earlier on Tuesday that 1,000 Israelis have been killed since the Hamas attack began. Israel retaliated with strikes against Gaza. At least 765 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Saturday, according to health officials.

What they are saying: "There are moments in life that pure evil is unleashed on this world," Biden said.

  • "The people lived through one such moment this weekend," he added, saying at least 14 Americans were among those killed by Hamas. He also confirmed that U.S. citizens are among the hostages the militant group took to Gaza.
  • "The bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas, a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews," Biden said. "So as an act of sheer evil, more than 1,000 civilians slaughtered in Israel."

State of play: The Biden administration has been trying to deter Iran and Lebanon-based Hezbollah from opening a second front in the war.

  • Biden said on Tuesday the U.S. military enhanced its posture in the Middle East by moving an aircraft carrier group to the region and sending more fighter jets.
  • Biden added that the U.S. is ready to move additional military assets to the region as needed.
  • "Any country or organization that is thinking about taking advantage of the situation I have one word for you – don't. Our hearts may be broken but our resolve is clear," he said.

What's next: Biden said the U.S. has started providing Israel with ammunition and interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense system.

  • "We will make sure Israel doesn't run out of these critical assets to defend its citizens," he said and stressed Congress will have to approve more aid soon.
  • "When Congress returns I am going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirement of our critical partners – it's not about politics it's about the security of the world and America," Biden said.

What to watch: Secretary of State Tony Blinken will arrive in Israel on Thursday in a show of "solidarity and support," the State Department said.

Go deeper: Biden warns Israel's enemies against taking advantage of fighting in Israel, Gaza

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