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'We stand with Israel,' Biden says as U.S. condemns Hamas attack as 'evil'

President Joe Biden leaves Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Georgetown section of Washington after attending Mass on Saturday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta
/
AP
President Joe Biden leaves Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Georgetown section of Washington after attending Mass on Saturday.

"Like every nation in the world, Israel has the right to respond — indeed has a duty to respond — to these vicious attacks," Biden said at the White House.

President Biden will address the American people Tuesday about the situation in Israel where Hamas militants attacked the country Saturday, killing more than 900 people, including at least 11 Americans. Israel has responded with a siege and heavy bombing of the Gaza Strip.

Biden has expressed full-throated support for Israel in the wake of what he and his officials have described as terrorist attacks. The president spent the long holiday weekend meeting with his national security team and working the phones with allies, including calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden pledged full U.S. support, with aid already on the way to Israel.

The White House is also preparing for what spokesman John Kirby described as the grim possibility that Americans could be among the hostages now being held by Hamas. There are a number of U.S. citizens still unaccounted for; Biden said in statement he ordered his team to work with Israel on hostage recovery efforts.

Separately, U.S. officials tell NPR they are offering Israel air defense and munitions and are pressing to get munitions to the country as quickly as possible. Department of Defense officials offered no timetable on the USS Gerald Ford Strike Group — which includes an aircraft carrier, a guided missile cruiser, and guided missile destroyers — making its way to the Mediterranean.

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Tamara Keith
Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. In that time, she has chronicled the final years of the Obama administration, covered Hillary Clinton's failed bid for president from start to finish and thrown herself into documenting the Trump administration, from policy made by tweet to the president's COVID diagnosis and the insurrection. In the final year of the Trump administration and the first year of the Biden administration, she focused her reporting on the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic, breaking news about global vaccine sharing and plans for distribution of vaccines to children under 12.
Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.