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Update on Saturday Terrorist Attacks on Israel: More Than 1,200 Killed, Including 22 Americans

Articles | October 12, 2023 | by Catholics for Catholics

Israel Protest Hamas Photo by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay

Peter Pinedo/CNA

More than 1,200 Israelis and 22 Americans have been confirmed killed while thousands more are wounded in the wake of Hamas’ large-scale surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, according to updated numbers from Israeli and U.S. authorities.

Hamas has continued to launch thousands of missiles at Israel’s major cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the last several days.

U.S. President Joe Biden in an address Tuesday called the attack a moment of “pure unadulterated evil” unleashed by Hamas, who he said exists to “kill Jews.”

Casualty Count Rises

The Israeli Embassy to the U.S. said on Wednesday that more than 1,200 were killed and more than 3,000 injured as a result of the attack.

Additionally, there are currently 535 injured persons in hospitals, while 2,901 injured victims have been evacuated to hospitals since Saturday, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health.

Besides the killed and injured, the BBC reported that as many as 150 Israeli hostages were taken by Hamas, according to the Israeli government.

Israelis were not the only ones impacted by the attacks. In addition to the 22 Americans killed, citizens from countries across the world, including the U.K., Germany and Thailand, are among the casualties, according to Israeli authorities.  

Additionally, approximately 17 Americans are missing, possibly killed or kidnapped, according to a Wednesday statement by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Hamas is a radical Islamic group that runs the Gaza Strip, an enclave of majority-Muslim Palestinians in the southwestern corner of Israel. The group carried out Saturday’s invasion of Israel as an act of vengeance for what they call Israel’s aggression in the region.

The scale of the casualties and victims, which include women, children and the elderly, makes this one of the largest terrorist attacks since 9/11.

“This was an act of sheer evil,” President Biden said on Tuesday. “The brutality of Hamas, in its bloodthirstiness, brings to mind the worst rampages of ISIS. This is terrorism. But, sadly, for the Jewish people, it’s not new. This attack has brought to the surface painful memories and scars left by a millennia of antisemitism and genocide of the Jewish people. So, in this moment, we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel.”  

Israeli Response

In response, Israel, after declaring war on Hamas, is bombarding the Gaza Strip and has begun a full mobilization of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

According to IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Israeli troops have regained control of the towns and border regions captured by Hamas and have repaired the breaches in the border fence around Gaza.

Conricus said that 300,000 Israeli infantry, armor and artillery soldiers are “now close to the Gaza strip to execute the mission that they have been given … to make sure that Hamas at the end of this war won’t have any military capabilities by which they can threaten or kill Israeli civilians.”

Israel has also sustained rocket and ground attacks from Hezbollah at its northern border with Lebanon and from within Syria at its northeastern border, according to Conricus.

“In southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has already fired anti-tank missiles and rockets at our positions and soldiers, fortunately without any significant casualties,” he said, adding that “there has already been an attempt by Islamic jihad terrorists to infiltrate into Israel.”

Conricus said: “That attempt was successfully thwarted by the IDF” but “at the cost of the life of a senior officer and two additional soldiers.”

“Rockets were fired from Syria into Israel,” he added. “We do not yet know if these rockets were fired by the Syrian armed forces, by any of the many Iranian militias … or Hezbollah.”

U.S. Response

The U.S., meanwhile, has promised to send military equipment and supplies to support Israel. According to the IDF, the first shipment of U.S. equipment landed in Israel’s Nevatim Air Force Base in southern Israel on Wednesday.

Additionally, the U.S. sent the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which includes a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier with eight squadrons of attack and support aircraft and several guided missile cruisers, to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, not far from Israel.

The purpose of the carrier group, according to  U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), is to “deter any actor seeking to escalate the situation or widen this war.”

CENTCOM also said that the Air Force is sending F-15s, F-16s and A-10s to augment existing fighter squadrons in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently traveling to Israel to express American solidarity and support and to further assess the situation.

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