A total of more than 1,900 people have already been confirmed killed in the Israel-Hamas war, which began with a series of terror attacks by Hamas over the weekend, and the dead include at least 14 Americans, according to President Joe Biden.
For the first time, Biden also confirmed Americans are among the more than 100 people taken hostage by the terrorist organization. Biden's national security advisor said at least 20 American citizens are unaccounted for.
Additionally, many Americans are stranded in the country. Some American members of the House of Representatives, however, are trying to get help for Americans that want to get home.
Rep. Marc Molinaro said constituents have reached out to him, looking for help with getting out of Israel amid escalating military barrages between Israel and Hamas.
“We're going to continue to work hard to assist and to cut through whatever bureaucracy may be an obstacle to getting our friends, families home," the Greene County Republican said. He said so far, they've helped about a dozen people get out, with dozens more trying.
Rep. Pat Ryan is also attempting to help American citizens get back home. He said in addition to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, which is moving closer to the West Bank, could be utilized if the situation remains unstable.
What You Need To Know
- Representatives Molinaro and Ryan say they are working to help get U.S. citizens out of Israel amid its war with Hamas
- UN Human rights officials say both Hamas' attacks on civilians and retaliatory airstrikes by Israel violate international law
- President Joe Biden pledged to send more munitions to Israel and called on Congress to act
“To do a more comprehensive, non-combatant evacuation operation," the Ulster County Democrat said. "This is something we drill across the world and have executed across the globe, including just recently in Africa. So our forces are ready and capable to do that."
Both members of Congress are calling for monetary aid. On Tuesday, Biden announced the U.S. is sending additional ammunition and missile interceptors to Israel, and stated his desire for Congress to take action when it goes back into session.
United Nations Human Rights chief Volker Turk has said that both Hamas’ attacks on civilians and retaliatory air strikes by Israel, which hit residential buildings and schools, are illegal under international law.
Israel’s siege of Gaza, which is cutting off electricity, food and water to the roughly 1.1 million Gazans in the area, could endanger the lives of civilians and be considered a war crime, according to UN Human Rights spokesperson Raina Shamdasani.
Molinaro said he considers Israel’s response appropriate and would like to see continued support. Annually, the U.S. sends about $38 billion in military aid to Israel.
“Continue those efforts, and as Israel needs assistance, as the prime minister has extended a request for American support in the case of continued funding for Israel's defense," Molinaro said. "That kind of support is is absolutely necessary.”
Ryan says his focus also remains on Israel’s response.
“This is not the time to be talking about de-escalation or cease fires," he said. "We need to ensure strength of resolve to get these hostages back and to allow Israel to reestablish their borders and deterrence.”
Molinaro added that any U.S. citizen concerned with getting out of Israel should reach out to their representatives’ office for assistance.