The White House said Tuesday that there is no specific information about the role of Iran in the latest terrorist attack against Israel by Hamas, but it is complicit “in a broad sense” for funding the military wing of the militant group.
“We have said since the beginning that Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided the lion's share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas. They have provided training.They have provided capabilities. They have provided support and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday.
“All of that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen. Now, as to the question of whether Iran knew about this attack in advance or helped plan or direct this attack, we do not, as of this moment I'm standing here at the podium, have confirmation of that. We are talking to our Israeli counterparts on a daily basis about this question,” he said.
The NSA said the US is trying to gather from its intelligence holdings on whether they have any further information on that. “We're looking to acquire further intelligence. And if there's an update to that, I'll share it with you,” Sullivan said.
“While Iran plays this broad role, sustaining a deep and dark role in providing all of this support and capabilities to Hamas, in terms of this particular gruesome attack on October 7th, we don't currently have that information. We will continue to look for it,” he added.
Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a wave of attacks on Israel on Saturday, killing over 1,000 people, in the biggest escalation in the conflict in decades. Israel has already responded with a wave of air strikes on Gaza, killing more than 800 people there.
The United States has launched a major global diplomatic drive to garner support for Israel and take necessary action against Hamas.
Sullivan also said that the US will respond firmly to any action by militia groups in the region to “take advantage of this situation”.
“With respect to the question of the various militia groups across the region, we do believe that they pose an urgent threat, and that it is certainly distinctly possible that they choose to try to exploit or take advantage of this situation. We have been sending clear warnings that doing so will result in a firm response and consequences from the United States,” he said.
Sullivan said the US is not entirely surprised by China’s response to Hamas’ attack, given their history of statements on such issues.
“We believe that the United States is capable of supporting Ukraine in Europe, of supporting our allies in the Indo-Pacific, and of supporting our close ally, Israel, in its hour of need. And we believe we have the resources, tools, and capacities to be able to effectively do that,” he said.
On US’ support to Ukraine in the war with Russia, Sullivan said that it was more cost effective to act against Russian aggression against Ukraine now rather than allowing Moscow to potentially have its aggression continue across Europe and pay a huge price later since that may require the actual deployment of American troops to combat.
“So better to support the Ukrainians as they stand firm against Russian aggression and do so on a sustained basis, and we have the budget wherewithal to be able to do that. We also have the budget wherewithal to be able to provide Israel what it needs. And we firmly reject the notion that the United States of America cannot at once support the freedom loving people of Ukraine and support the state of Israel,” he said.
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