The president of the United States, Joe Biden, stated on Monday that at least eleven American citizens are among the dead in Israel after the attacks carried out over the weekend by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
Washington believes it is likely that there are also American citizens among the Hamas hostages, it said in a statement.
Biden said the United States was working with Israeli authorities to obtain more information about the whereabouts of American citizens who remain unaccounted for.
“For U.S. citizens currently in Israel, the State Department is providing up-to-date consular assistance, as well as security alerts. For those who wish to leave, commercial flights and land options remain available,” she said, adding that they should take precautions and follow the guidance of local authorities.
Hamas gunmen stormed through the fence from Gaza on Saturday, killing Israeli soldiers and civilians and taking dozens of hostages to the coastal enclave.
Israel responded with its most intense bombardment of Gaza and could be contemplating a ground assault on the territory from which it withdrew almost two decades ago after 38 years of occupation.
Biden said he has directed his team to work with their Israeli counterparts on all aspects of the hostage situation, including information sharing and the deployment of US government experts.
Police departments across the country have beefed up security around centers of Jewish life, he added.
Former President Barack Obama expressed his solidarity with Israel on Monday night, posting on We mourn for those who died, we pray for the safe return of the hostages, and we firmly support our ally, Israel, in its dismantlement of Hamas. “While we support Israel’s right to defend itself from terror, we must continue to fight for a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”