29 Americans dead, 15 missing in Israel-Hamas war

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The U.S. State Department has confirmed that the casualties among Americans due to the Israeli-Hamas war have climbed to 29, with 15 individuals still unaccounted for. This includes one lawful U.S. permanent resident.

Addressing the 2023 Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on Saturday, President Joe Biden said he spoke to some of their families on Friday.

“I spoke for over an hour with a family member of those Americans who are still unaccounted for on a Zoom call. They’ve endured the agony of not knowing what’s happened,” President Biden said.

On Saturday, President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian authorities, including President Mahmoud Abbas, advocating for stability in the Middle East and “to prevent the conflict from widening,” according tothe White House.

President Biden also denounced Hamas militants’ deadly actions in Israel during the human rights event.

“The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, innocent Palestinian families, and a vast majority of them nothing to do with Hamas; they’re being used as human shields,” Biden said. “Hate never goes away.”

Earlier on Saturday, the U.S. called for the protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

“As Israel pursues its legitimate right, to defending its people and to trying to ensure that this never happens again, it is vitally important that all of us look out for civilians, and we’re working together to do exactly that,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “None of us want to see suffering by civilians on any side, whether it’s in Israel, whether it’s in Gaza, whether it’s anywhere else.”

Furthermore, the Biden administration announced Saturday that it’s deploying the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group to aid Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean, per anonymous defense officials. Eisenhower will lead the USS Gerald R. Ford group near Israel, boosting the U.S. presence with destroyers, fighters, and cruisers.

Israel has been bombing Gaza for the past week, killing more than 2,200 so far in response to the cross-border Hamas attack that killed over 1,300 Israelis, according to the Associated Press.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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