Update (1525ET): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks following the Hamas attack:
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President Biden delivered a boilerplate series of remarks on the attack in Israel, including that the US commitment to them is "rock solid," and leaving before answering any questions (the first one of which was whether there was an intelligence failure leading up to it).
The US says it 'stands firmly' by its partner Israel after it came under large-scale attack by Palestinian fighters from Gaza, happening nearly 50 years to the day of the historic 1973 Yom Kippur war.
"The U.S. unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians," spokeswoman for the U.S. National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, said in a statement. "We stand firmly with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks."
President Biden held a phone call with Netanyahu Saturday:
“This morning, I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the horrific and ongoing attacks in Israel,” Biden said in a statement. “The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel.”
“Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation,” he continued. “My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
Additionally, the Pentagon says it will support Israel after Netanyahu earlier declared war.
"Our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself remains unwavering," US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. "Over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism."
Gaza militants have not only taken control of multiple Israeli military outposts near the southern border, but have launched more than 2,000 missiles in an attack by "air, land, and sea". Gaza media is meanwhile warning "hell' is coming to Tel Aviv.
Israel's national rescue service has confirmed at least 40 Israeli deaths due to the attack. Regional reports are saying this death toll could be over 100. A large-scale Israeli air campaign has ensued over Gaza City, with entire apartment blocks and buildings being leveled.
⚡️Battles are still ongoing around the settlements of the Gaza strip pic.twitter.com/YtIBoCfZrS— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) October 7, 2023
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Jerusalem has issued a "shelter in place" order for all US diplomatic personnel and their families.
"The U.S. Embassy is closely monitoring the security situation as a result of rockets fired from Gaza across southern and central Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the infiltration of Hamas militants," the statement reads.
Something seems off to me that one of the most advanced intelligence agencies in the world apparently had no idea a large scale terrorist attack was about to be mobilized against their country.— Jordan Sather (@Jordan_Sather_) October 7, 2023
The embassy says it's "aware that there have been casualties as a result of these incidents" and cautions US citizens to "remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness."
Israeli leaders look rattled as they attended an emergency security cabinet meeting today:
⚡️Video from the expanded cabinet meeting pic.twitter.com/VaPYQmpyeX— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) October 7, 2023
Some observers are asking how such a clearly well-coordinated attack could have happened. At the very least, this is a monumential failure on the part of Israeli intelligence...