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U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks in Washington, DC on August 1, 2023.
At least three Americans have been killed in attacks in Israel near the Gaza border, according to an internal US government memo reviewed by CNN.
Earlier on Sunday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the US was “working overtime” to verify the reports. Missing and Dead Americans After Hamas launched an unprecedented attack against Israel.
“We have information that many Americans have been killed. We are working overtime to verify that. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans, and we are working to verify those reports,” Blinken told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
An internal memo says the State Department is aware of three US citizens killed in the Gaza Strip. It also knows of additional Americans who are unaccounted for.
CNN has reached out to the State Department for comment.
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer Bash said on Sunday that the Americans were among the “estimates” of hostages held in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem updated its contingency plan for “any possible evacuation by land or air,” according to the memo. On Saturday, the embassy issued a “shelter in place” order to its personnel.
The A large-scale surprise attack Hundreds of Israelis were killed Saturday by Gaza militants, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to vow revenge and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
It is unclear what Israel’s full response will look like. An Israeli military spokesman indicated that Israel may attempt to take full control of Gaza for the first time since 2005, and that more than 20 communities near Gaza are being evacuated.
The top U.S. diplomat added that President Joe Biden’s directive was to “make sure we provide Israel with everything it needs at this time to deal with attacks by Hamas.”
Speaking from the White House on Saturday, Biden said his administration’s support for Israel’s defense was “solid and unwavering.”
In a conversation with Netanyahu on Sunday, Biden said the additional aid was “on its way.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Sunday that a U.S. carrier strike group would move to the eastern Mediterranean in a “deterrence posture.” In his statement, Austin also said the United States would “quickly provide additional equipment and resources to the Israel Defense Forces.”
Nevertheless, the president and his top aides are grappling with a complex diplomatic situation unlike any previous conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
There are Republican presidential candidates Biden slammed the administrationFormer President Donald Trump — the front-runner for the GOP nomination — points to the administration’s freeze on Iranian funding to say Biden “betrayed Israel.”
Blinken, however, reiterated on Sunday that no money from the unfrozen fund was spent on humanitarian purposes.
“So people are either misinformed or they’re misinformed,” he said. “Whatever it is, it’s wrong.”
This story has been updated with additional information.