The White House said Thursday it was working to organize charter flights to help US citizens leave Israel, as the number of confirmed American dead in the war with Hamas rose to 27.
“Beginning tomorrow, (the) United States government will arrange charter flights to provide transportation from Israel to sites in Europe,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby, adding that officials were “still working through some of the details.”
“We can now update the number of Americans that we know have been killed to 27 and the number of unaccounted for stands today at 14,” Kirby said.
“We’re obviously doing everything we can to support and inform the families.”
Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 people in Israel and took about 150 hostages in their surprise onslaught from Gaza on Saturday. Israel has retaliated by raining air and artillery strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza for six days, claiming over 1,350 lives.
Washington says a “handful” of Americans are among the hostages and has moved its largest aircraft carrier off the Israeli coast.
But Kirby said there were no plans for US military action to rescue them, or if the conflict widens to include Iran or its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
“There is no intention, no plan and, frankly, no desire by the Israelis for US combat troops to be involved in this conflict,” said Kirby.
“The Israelis have made it very clear that they don’t want foreign troops on their soil.”