NEW YORK: Standing “firmly” with Israel, top Indian-American leaders have condemned the surprise terror attack by the Palestinian Hamas militant group, saying that an “attack on Israel is an attack on America”.
Palestinian militants launched the attack on southern Israel on October 7, firing rockets from Gaza as its fighters crossed over the border, killing over hundreds and wounding several others.
Israel then carried out retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Hamas, declaring Israel was now “at war”.
“Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and the Iranian backers — they hate Israel and they hate America. We can’t be distracted. We have to remember that what happened to Israel could happen here in America,” former South Carolina Governor and Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, told NBC News.
“This is not just an attack on Israel — this was an attack on America. Finish them @Netanyahu (Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu). They should have hell to pay for what they have just done,” Haley wrote on X.
Congressman Shri Thanedar said in a statement posted on X that he “stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Israeli people in condemning this recent attack by Hamas”.
“I condemn these violent attacks against the Jewish people and the state of Israel. The calculated aggression targeting innocent civilians is heartbreaking and cannot be tolerated. America stands firmly with Israel,” Thanedar said.
He urged the Congress to rally behind Israel until the threat is addressed and security is restored.
Congressman Ro Khanna called the crimes carried out by Hamas against Israeli women and children “inhuman” and “appalling”.
“My heart breaks for the victims, and I stand in solidarity with the people of Israel at this dark moment,” Khanna wrote on X.
Republican presidential aspirant and biotech entrepreneur, Vivek Ramaswamy said that the US should use the attacks in Israel as a wake-up call and strengthen its borders.
“Key lesson for America to learn from the attack on Israel: we cannot be complacent about defending ‘our own’ borders. If it can happen there, it can happen here. Our own border is near-completely porous right now,” Ramaswamy wrote on X, stating that the northernBborder of the US is “wide-open for invasion”.
“Our own foreign policy establishment has focused on distant foreign priorities while leaving us badly vulnerable on border defense, cyber and super-EMP defense, nuclear missile defense, and space-based defenses. We can’t lose sight of that & should use the attacks on Israel as a wake-up call here at home,” Ramaswamy said.
Meanwhile, the US government suspects that “several Americans” may be among those killed or taken hostage in Israel following the attacks and strikes, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We have reports that several Americans may be among the dead,” Blinken told NBC News on Sunday, adding he was verifying the reports and also stories that some have been taken hostage.
An Israeli military spokesperson said a “significant number” of Israeli civilians and soldiers were being held hostage in the Gaza Strip, with some presumed dead fuelling speculation that some American citizens might have been either killed or taken as hostages by the Hamas leaders.
“Women, children, elderly, disabled” civilians were “dragged into Gaza” in “unprecedented” numbers, IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus had said earlier.
Blinken said the US is “working overtime” to verify reports of missing and dead Americans overseas after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack against Israel.
Israeli officials confirmed early on Monday that over 700 civilians and members of the military have died and 2,150 others wounded since Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel.
The country has warned at the UN that the Hamas attack on the nation is “a war on the free world” and now is the time to obliterate the Hamas terrorist infrastructure to ensure that “such horrors are never committed again”.