Israeli authorities confirmed that Americans are among the hostages taken by Hamas during its attack on Israel over the weekend.
Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, while dozens of fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border by air, land and sea in areas near the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, marking an latest escalation in the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a televised address on Saturday that his country was now at war, while U.S. leaders pledged support for Israel.
More than 100 people are believed to have been taken by Hamas, though the exact number of hostages remained unclear.
“All I can say is that we know there are Americans among the hostages, but I cannot provide more details at this point,” Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, said during an appearance on CNN on Sunday.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told Newsweek on Monday that authorities are working to locate Americans, writing in a statement: “We can confirm that there are unaccounted-for U.S. citizens, and we are working with our Israeli partners to determine their whereabouts.”
Neither U.S. nor Israeli authorities have provided details about how many Americans might be held hostage by Hamas.
Fox & Friends weekend co-host Will Cain reported that he was told by Israeli authorities that there are “dozens of American citizens among the hostages in Gaza,” though Newsweek was unable to independently verify that report. Newsweek reached out to the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry via email for comment.
The State Department confirmed that at least nine Americans were killed in the attack that left more than 1,000 dead on both sides.
U.S. Responds to Attack
“Israel has its right to defend itself and its people. Full stop. There’s never justification for terrorist attacks, and my administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering,” he said.
Biden on Sunday told Netanyahu that “additional assistance for the Israeli Defense Forces is now on its way to Israel with more to follow over the coming days” during a phone call between the two, according to a White House statement.
“The U.S. maintains ready forces globally to further reinforce this deterrence posture if required,” he said in a statement.