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US rushing air defences, munitions and security aid to Israel, defence official says

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The US military is “surging” fresh supplies of air defences, munitions and other security aid to Israel to help it respond to an unprecedented weekend attack by Hamas, a senior US defence official said on Monday.

“Planes have already taken off,” the US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to Pentagon reporters.

“We are surging support to Israel … We remain in constant ongoing contact with our counterparts in Israel to determine and then support their most urgent requirements.”

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Israel declares war after Hamas launches surprise attack, killing hundreds of people

Israel declares war after Hamas launches surprise attack, killing hundreds of people

The United States has not yet detailed the extent of Israel’s requests for security aid. But the US defence official said Washington was contacting the defence industry to expedite pending Israeli orders, and looking at the US military’s own stockpiles to help fill Israeli gaps.
The official also appeared to dismiss concerns that the United States might struggle to supply Israel at the same time that it funnels weaponry to Ukraine.

“We are able to continue our support both to Ukraine, to Israel, and maintain our own global readiness,” the official said.

Hamas vows to execute hostages as Israel strikes and seals off Gaza

The senior US official compared the attack by Hamas to “Isis-level savagery,” a characterisation echoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also said on Monday that Hamas’ attack mirrored those carried out by the jihadist group Islamic State.

The US has no intention of putting military on the ground, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday, adding however that US President Joe Biden “will always make sure that we are protecting and defending our national security interest.”
Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, killing hundreds of Israelis and seizing dozens of hostages. The attack led Israel to declare war, and the spiralling violence threatens to start a major new war in the Middle East.
US President Joe Biden with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on September 20. Photo: Reuters

Biden said at least 11 American citizens were among those killed in Israel and added US citizens were likely among the Hamas hostages.

“I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

The senior US defence official said there was not yet any evidence seen by the United States of Iran being behind the attack in Israel, following a report by the Wall Street Journal newspaper alleging Iranian security officials helped plan it.

“Of course, Iran is in the picture. Iran has provided support for years to the Hamas and Hezbollah. But we have no information corroborating the specifics of the Wall Street Journal story at this time,” the official said.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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