Americans have been captured and are being held hostage by Hamas amid the militant group’s attack on Israel that began Saturday, two Israeli ambassadors said, although the number of American hostages remains unconfirmed.
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan said that “dozens” of Americans are being held in Gaza amid a Hamas attack. “I know that there are dozens — dozens, OK? — of Israelis holding American citizenship who are being held hostage in Gaza,” Erdan told Fox News, according to Haaretz. “There are many Israelis who have American citizenship, we don’t have all the names yet. We’re still working to get the names of all the missing people. But dozens are Americans.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog said on CBS’s Face the Nation that Americans are among the hostages but declined to give a number. “I understand there are [Americans being held hostage], but I don’t have details,” he told host Margaret Brennan.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday morning that the U.S. is working to verify reports that several Americans have been killed and others have been taken hostage by Hamas. “We have reports that several Americans were killed. We’re working overtime to verify that. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans and there again, we’re working to verify those reports,” Blinken said on CNN.
Hamas militants entered Israeli homes to capture hostages and attacked an outdoor music festival, leaving dozens dead and taking others to Gaza. Many families of Israeli citizens who attended the festival have reported their loved ones missing and are desperately asking for help from the Israeli government.
The death toll in Israel has reached at least 600 people as of Sunday morning, while another 1,800 are reported wounded in the attacks. Gaza’s Ministry of Health said Sunday that 300 people in Palestine are dead, and 2,200 have been wounded as a result of retaliatory missile attacks launched by Israel, which has declared a state of war.
President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a Sunday call that more military aid is “now on its way to Israel with more to follow over the coming days,” the White House said. The assistance will include expedited delivery of munitions and other weapons Israel has purchased or weapons from the U.S. military purchased using funds Congress has already allocated, an American official said, according to Axios.
“Congress will definitely have a role (in approving aid to Israel), and without a speaker, this could be a problem,” a U.S. official told Axios.