Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images
An Israeli missile fired from the Iron Dome missile defense system attempts to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip over the town of Netivot in southern Israel on October 8, 2023.
Nine US citizens died In the conflict in IsraelA US National Security Council spokesman said Monday.
“At this time, we can confirm the deaths of nine US citizens. We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families and wish the injured a speedy recovery. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in contact with our Israeli partners, particularly local authorities,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesman added, “We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in contact with our Israeli partners, particularly local authorities.”
US officials are scrambling to confirm how many Americans have been killed or taken hostage in the conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told CNN’s Dana Bash during the “State of the Union” Sunday that the U.S. is “working overtime” to verify reports of missing and dead Americans. Hostages are being held in Gaza.
State Department spokesman Matt Miller told CNN’s Phil Mattingly on Monday that US officials are in close contact with the Israeli government and the families of the victims of the attack.
The United States has pledged to provide additional military support in the coming days, although domestic political dysfunction may hamper the response.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Sunday that he has ordered the US Navy’s Ford carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean near Israel. The USS Gerald Ford is the Navy’s most advanced aircraft carrier and is being sent to the area along with a guided missile cruiser and four destroyers as a deterrent, Austin said.
But the current commander of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet is responsible for US naval operations in the Middle East region, including the Red Sea and the Gulf of Oman. Still waiting for promotion Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville to deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces and operations in the region based on military confirmations.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is looking at providing more aid to Israel. Officials were unsure over the weekend About what can be achieved without a sit-down speaker. Interim Speaker Patrick McHenry has little authority outside of suspending, deferring or approving speaker appointments, and it’s unclear whether he can participate in intelligence briefings on the crisis.
According to a person familiar with the discussion, administration officials said they are looking at the current $100 million in presidential drawdown authorizations that would allow them to send additional aid immediately to quickly ship weapons from current stocks. Officials told lawmakers that the drawdown would require additional funding from Congress.
This story has been updated with additional background information.