US and European leaders condemn Hamas attack on Israel

Ursula von der Leyen said that Israel ‘has the right to defend itself’ (Fermin Rodriguez/AP)
Ursula von der Leyen said that Israel ‘has the right to defend itself’ (Fermin Rodriguez/AP) Ursula von der Leyen said that Israel ‘has the right to defend itself’ (Fermin Rodriguez/AP)

The US and European leaders have voiced solidarity with Israel as they condemned the Hamas attack on the country.

US President Joe Biden on Saturday decried the “appalling assault” by Hamas militants and his administration pledged to ensure Israel has “what it needs to defend itself” after the surprise attack that drew worldwide condemnation and anger from Israel’s allies.

Mr Biden made clear in a call with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support”, according to the White House.

Secretary of state Antony Blinken went to the White House for meetings and was phoning foreign counterparts, while defence secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to Israel’s defence minister.

“Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people,” Mr Biden said in a statement that also warned “any other party hostile to Israel” against “seeking advantage in this situation”.

Washington’s support for “Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering”, the president said.

His Pentagon chief said the US was committed to helping Israel to “protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism” and with its defence needs.

The head of the European Union’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the attack “is terrorism in its most despicable form”.

She said that “Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the militants’ rocket fire and the escalating violence “shock us deeply”.

He added that “Germany condemns these attacks by Hamas and stands beside Israel”.

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote that he “firmly” condemns the “terrorist attacks” against Israel and expressed “my full solidarity with the victims, their families and their loved ones”.

Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said Italy’s government condemns the attacks on Israel “with utmost firmness”.

“At risk are the life of people, the security of the region and the resumption of any kind of political process,” Mr Tajani said in a social media post.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry voiced its support for Israel’s “right to defend itself and its people” in a post on social media.

The ministry said it “strongly condemns the ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks against the civilian population in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv”.

Ukraine has been fighting a war against Russia since its neighbour invaded in February 2022.

The White House said that it “unequivocally condemns” the Hamas attacks.

“We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

“The US unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. There is never any justification for terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Hezbollah congratulated Hamas for the operation, saying it had “divine backing”.

The group said the attack is a response to “Israel’s crimes” and attacks on holy places and that “the will of the Palestinian people and the rifle of the resistance is the only alternative to face occupation”.

Hezbollah said that its military command in Lebanon is following the developments on the ground and is in direct contact with the Palestinian command and they are both “evaluating the situation and the ongoing operation”.