Netanyahu vows to crush Hamas

Blinken reiterates American support for Israel

US is moving quickly to boost Israel’s military

Aid groups scramble to help as Israel-Hamas war intensifies

 

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the U.S. secretary of state’s visit Thursday is a “tangible example of America’s unequivocal support of Israel.”

He compared the Hamas militant group that staged a ferocious attack on Israel over the weekend to the Islamic State group. “Just as ISIS was crushed, Hamas will be crushed,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated America’s support. “The message I bring with me is this: You may strong enough on your own to defend yourselves but as long as America exists you will never have to,” he said.

Within hours of the horrific attack by Hamas, the U.S. began moving warships and aircraft to the region to be ready to provide Israel with whatever it needs to respond.

A second U.S. carrier strike group departs from Norfolk, Virginia, on Friday. Scores of aircraft are heading to U.S. military bases around the Middle East. And special operations forces are now assisting Israel’s military in planning and intelligence.

The buildup reflects U.S. concern that the deadly fighting between Hamas and Israel could escalate into a more dangerous regional conflict. So the primary mission for those ships and warplanes for now is to establish a force presence that deters Hezbollah, Iran or others from taking advantage of the situation. But the forces the U.S. sent are capable of more than that.

The U.S. is providing some personnel and much-needed munitions to Israel. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that a small cell of special operations forces was now assisting Israel with intelligence and planning. They have not been tasked with hostage rescue, contrary to some reporting, a defense official said, but could if they were requested to do so.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that resupplying Iron Dome munitions and air defense systems was an immediate priority.

“We’re surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome,” Biden said. “We’re going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.”

Iron Dome’s missiles target rockets that approach one of its cities. According to Raytheon, Israel has 10 Iron Dome systems in place to protect its cities. Beginning with Saturday’s attack, Hamas has fired more than 5,000 rockets at Israel, most of which the system has been able to intercept, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Raytheon produces most of the missile components for Iron Dome in the U.S., and the Army has two Iron Dome systems in its stockpile.

Image courtesy of Bloomberg

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