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Israel: Biden calls Hamas terror attack ‘sheer evil’

One of the Gaza areas affected by airstrikes from Israel on Saturday | AP

US President, Joe Biden, has described the Hamas weekend attack as an “act of sheer evil,” in the first national address following talks with Israeli Prime, Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“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.

The US president has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several times since Saturday’s terror attack.

He stressed the US’s support to Israel, stating: “Let there be no doubt, the US has Israel’s back.”

Biden said US officials were in constant communication with Israeli partners in the region and worldwide, as well as with the Israeli government to offer support.

Biden was making a televised address about the situation in and around Israel on Tuesday, his first public comments since Sunday.

Earlier, the White House had said it was taking Hamas threats to execute hostages seriously, with US citizens thought likely to be among them.

Hamas, which rules the coastal Gaza Strip, is classified as a terrorist organisation by the EU, the US and Israel, among others. 

At least 11 US citizens were among the dead following the militant group’s attacks on Israel on Saturday, with hundreds killed on both sides in the fighting as Israel responded with air strikes.

Meanwhile, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday before his White House address.

“We connected with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss coordination to support Israel, deter hostile actors, and protect innocent people,” Biden said on social media.

The president and his VP also sat down with US national security teams to get an update on the “terrorist attack in Israel and to direct next steps.”

This is as the US president has pledged military assistance to Israel.

Biden in his White House address said his administration was securing additional military assistance to Israel, including ammunition and interceptors for the Iron Dome.

“We’re going to make sure that Israel doesn’t run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens,” Biden said.

He added that his administration has been in close consultation with the US Congress throughout the crisis.

Congress Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a vote last week, restricting the activities of the House until a new speaker is elected.

Biden said that once Congress returns, he will ask the House to take “urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners.

“This is not about party or politics. This is about the security of our world, the security of the United States of America,” Biden said.

He stressed that there was no place for hate in the US, “not against Jews or Muslims.”

Biden stressed that US hostages held by Hamas since its weekend attack were a top priority for him, in his address from the White House on Tuesday.

The president said he has directed his teams to share intelligence and deploy additional experts.

“As president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world,” he said.

Biden compared the terrorism exercised by Hamas to that of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, saying Hamas had 

“slaughtered” more than 1,000 civilians and left “entire families slain.

“These traumas never go away. Hamas doesn’t stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination,” Biden said.

“Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the state of Israel and the murder of the Jewish people.”

He accused Hamas of using Palestinian civilians as “human shields,” even as added that, “Hamas offers nothing but terrorism and bloodshed with no regard to who pays the price.”

Biden also stressed Israel’s right to respond to the violence.

The US, like the EU, Israel and others, had designated Hamas as a terrorist group.

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