At least 17 Americans unaccounted for after Hamas attacks on Israel: State Dept

"We may, in fact, find out that more Americans are part of the hostage pool," Kirby said.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
The State Department announced on Wednesday that at least 17 Americans are unaccounted for in Israel following the Hamas terrorist attacks, according to News 6. 22 Americans have been confirmed to have been killed in Israel by Hamas.

During Wednesday’s White House press conference, Kirby said that there was "less than a handful" of the 17 unaccounted-for Americans are believed to be held hostage, but added that "we may, in fact, find out that more Americans are part of the hostage pool," according to the Daily Mail.

President Biden said that United States citizens are among the more than 150 hostages taken into Gaza by Hamas terrorists, but was unable to confirm how many of those hostages are American.

On Wednesday, the United States deployed US special operation teams to assist the Israel Defense Force (IDF) in recovering Americans held hostage by Hamas in an upcoming ground mission in Gaza. Those special teams include the US Navy's Seal Team 6 and the Army's Delta Force, both of which have historically completed successful counter-terrorism hostage rescue missions.

The US special operation teams are staging in nearby Europe and will aid in the rescue mission if ordered by command.

The war has taken more than 2,200 lives on both sides since Hamas terrorists invaded Israel at daybreak on Saturday, entering the country by land, sea, and air and killing around 1,000 civilian and military men, women, and children.

Hamas and their ruthless executions of innocent Israeli civilians resulted in the United States and its allies pledging unwavering commitment to Israel in which they told the Jewish nation that they stand ready to assist in their efforts against Hamas and other enemy entities that might take advantage of the terrorist attacks to try to ignite additional wars throughout the Middle East.

"This attack has brought to the surface the painful memories and scars left by a millennium of antisemitism and genocide against the Jewish people," Biden told reporters during a Wednesday press brief. "We have to be crystal clear: There is no justification for terrorism, no excuse and the type of terrorism that was exhibited here is just beyond the pale, beyond the pale."

"The United States has Israel's back and we're going to be working on this through the day and beyond," Biden said.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, was called on Wednesday, according to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Since the terrorist attacks began on Saturday, Biden and Netanyahu have remained in communication and have spoken over the phone at least four times.

In addition to the deployment of the US military special operations teams for hostage rescues, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said they have sent US intelligence community advisors to Israel to assist an American special operations team assigned to the US Embassy in Israel.

In a statement on Tuesday, US Central Command confirmed that the USS Gerald R Ford Carrier Strike Group had arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea "in order to deter any actor seeking to escalate the situation or widen this war."

The forces in the area include the aircraft carrier, 8 squadrons of attack and support aircraft, the Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt.

A senior official with the Department of Defense said that the strike group can conduct "a full spectrum of missions, from intelligence collection, maritime dominance, to long-range strike, will ensure the United States is postured to respond to any contingencies and minimize the risk of a wider spread conflict that would threaten stability," according to The Messenger.

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