ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Top Democrat slams 'violent and ghastly attack'

Biden calls PM, as US offers full backing amid massive attack from Gaza

Officials in Washington in contact with National Security Adviser Hanegbi as Israel surprised by deadly assault

Left: US President Joe Biden at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, North Carolina, March 28, 2023. (AP/Carolyn Kaster); Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on March 19, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool photo via AP)
Left: US President Joe Biden at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, North Carolina, March 28, 2023. (AP/Carolyn Kaster); Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on March 19, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool photo via AP)

US President Joe Biden on Saturday called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and stressed that the US stands by Israel and fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself, amid a surprise violent assault by Gazan terrorists.

The Gaza-based terror group launched an unprecedented assault on Israel in the morning, firing thousands of rockets and sending multitudes of gunmen into Israeli communities by land, sea, and air, killing at least 200 people and injuring at least 1,400 by Saturday evening.

Netanyahu thanked Biden for his support and told him that a “prolonged and powerful campaign will be required in which Israel will win,” a readout from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon will work in the coming days to make sure Israel has the means to defend itself against the attack.

Austin vowed “to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism.”

“Our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself remains unwavering, and I extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this abhorrent attack on civilians,” Austin said in a statement.

Smoke billows in Ashkelon on October 7, 2023, as barrages of rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave into Israeli territory. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington “unequivocally condemns the appalling attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israel, including civilians and civilian communities.”

“There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel, and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” he said.

“We will remain in close contact with our Israeli partners. The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself.”

US Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted that she and her husband Doug’s “prayers are with the victims of the heinous terrorist attacks in Israel. @POTUS and my support for Israel’s security is unwavering.”

US Chargé d’Affaires in Israel Stephanie Hallett, the country’s top diplomat to the Jewish state since the departure of former ambassador Tom Nides, tweeted that she was “sickened by the images coming out of southern Israel of dead and wounded civilians at the hands of terrorists from Gaza.”

US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson also denounced the ongoing terror attacks.

“The United States unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians,” Watson said in a statement, adding that “there is never any justification for terrorism.”

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has spoken to National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and will remain in close contact with Israeli partners over the operation, according to the statement.

“We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Watson added.

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York said in a statement that the US “stands firmly and unequivocally with Israel,” offering his backing of the Jewish state’s right to defend itself from the attacks.

“I strongly condemn the violent and ghastly attack by the terrorist organization Hamas on the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The loss of life in Israel as a result of the violent calculated and unprovoked attack by Hamas is heartbreaking,” he said in a statement.

Rockets are launched by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, in Gaza, October 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Progressive Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, tweeted his condemnation of “the horrifying attack on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. There is no justification for this violence, and innocent people on both sides will suffer hugely because of it. It must end now.”

The multi-pronged attack, coming a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise invasion on Yom Kippur, caught the Israeli military and security forces completely by surprise.

Hamas gunmen overran at least one military base and gunmen moved through Israeli border communities, killing and capturing residents, apparently with little resistance from Israeli forces, residents said.

Other clips circulated online have purported to show Israeli civilians taken hostage by the terror group. Arabic media claimed 52 Israelis had been captured. Some of those captured appeared to have been killed.

The military declined to give details about casualties or kidnappings as it continued to battle the infiltrators.

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