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Biden set to deliver remarks on Hamas attack in Israel

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Afghanistan during a speech in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, August 31, 2021.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will address the unprecedented terror attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel as violence in the region soars.

Biden’s remarks, slated for 1 p.m. ET from the White House, come on the heels of what the Pentagon has dubbed “ISIS-level savagery” in Israel.

On Saturday, Hamas militants carried out a surprise land, air and sea attack on Israeli civilians that has since triggered a fury of Israeli retaliatory airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. The group, which has been previously designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., U.K., and the European Union, also kidnapped civilians during their weekend siege.

The conflict, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people, has triggered the movement of U.S. firepower to the region in an effort to bolster Israeli security. In a statement Monday evening, Biden confirmed the deaths of at least 11 Americans in Israel and acknowledged that some U.S. citizens could have been kidnapped by Hamas.

Biden said he directed a team to work with Israeli counterparts “on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Hamas’ attack on Israel “a terrible mistake,” warning that the retaliatory strikes on Hamas were “just the beginning.”

“The images of the devastation and destruction from the Hamas strongholds in Gaza are just the beginning. We have eliminated many hundreds of terrorists and we will not stop there,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech on Monday.

“This war was forced upon us by a terrorist enemy,” he added.

Read live updates of the Israel-Hamas conflict

The Pentagon said Monday it is coordinating with major U.S. defense contractors to expedite the shipping of pending Israeli weapon orders.

“I am not going to get into specifics on this call, but the bottom line is we are working as fast as possible to provide critically needed munitions of various types and other equipment,” a senior Defense official said on a conference call with reporters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon was working across its enterprise to assess what munitions and other equipment can be made available for Israel.

“We are anticipating continuous delivery on some of the requests Israel has made,” the official said.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a call that the first U.S. military cargo planes were already en route to the region. Kirby declined to elaborate on specific U.S. security assistance.

Pentagon pushing U.S. defense industry to bolster Israel in fight against Hamas

What’s more, over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the movement of the stalwart USS Gerald Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean.

“We have also taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region,” Austin wrote in a Sunday statement.

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