Friday, December 1, 2023

“Haven’t yet seen direct evidence of Iran’s involvement…”: US Secy Blinken on Hamas attack

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On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed that Hamas has experienced a notable increase in strength, largely attributed to the support it has received from Iran in recent years. However, Blinken also made it clear that there is no direct evidence linking Iran to the specific attack launched by Hamas on Israel, as reported by ABC News.

During an interview with ABC News, Secretary Blinken emphasized the longstanding relationship between Iran and Hamas, highlighting that Hamas owes much of its existence to the substantial support it has received from Iran over an extended period. While no concrete proof has emerged tying Iran to the recent attack, Blinken underscored the well-documented historical support from Iran.

Furthermore, Blinken explained that the United States has been resolutely countering Iran’s backing of terrorism and its destabilizing activities in various countries. The US has implemented sanctions against over 400 Iranian individuals and entities specifically due to the type of support they have provided to Hamas in the past. He stressed the ongoing vigilance in addressing this issue.

Secretary Blinken also commented on the extensive devastation caused by the Hamas attack on Israel, describing it as a “massive” terrorist assault targeting Israeli civilians in their towns and homes. He expressed deep concern regarding the impact of these attacks on Israel and urged the world to condemn the actions they witnessed.

In a separate interview with CNN, Blinken confirmed that the US is actively working to verify reports of missing and deceased Americans following the Hamas attack in Israel. He mentioned reports of several Americans being killed and the efforts to confirm these reports, as well as reports of missing Americans, which were also under investigation.

Regarding the possibility of providing additional aid to Israel in response to the attack, Blinken hinted at the potential for an announcement as early as Sunday. He indicated that specific requests made by Israel were being examined and considered.

Earlier, on Saturday (US local time), Blinken engaged in discussions with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, the UK Foreign Secretary, and the Qatari Prime Minister regarding the Hamas attack on Israel. He reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense and called for coordinated efforts to immediately halt the violent actions by Hamas terrorists and other militants.

In a significant escalation on Saturday, Hamas launched a “surprise attack” on Israel by firing a barrage of rockets into the southern and central regions of the country. The toll from the rocket attacks and ground assault by Hamas surpassed 400 by Sunday, with an additional 1,864 individuals reported as injured. According to officials cited by the Times of Israel, several Israelis were taken hostage in Gaza.

In response to the Hamas attack, the Israel Air Force executed a potent and lethal air strike in the Gaza Strip, involving numerous fighter jets targeting areas used by Hamas terrorists. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) communicated this action, asserting their commitment to continue countering the terrorist organization Hamas in defense of the State of Israel.

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