U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed on Tuesday that 33 Americans were killed during Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Speaking before the United Nations, Blinken said the Americans were among the 1,400 people killed during the attack, which also included victims from more than 30 U.N. member states. Hamas also took approximately 200 hostages. A State Department official said on Tuesday that 10 Americans were unaccounted for, who may be held hostage.
During his speech, Blinken said Israel has the right to defend itself, noting that other members of the U.N. would do the same if they were attacked.
Israel responded to the surprise attack by going after Hamas targets in Gaza. However, there have been numerous civilian casualties. The Gaza Ministry of Health, which is run by Hamas, claims more than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel retaliated. Hundreds of women and children are among the casualties, the Ministry of Health reports.
Blinken stated that Hamas must stop using civilians as "human shields."
The secretary of state also addressed the potential of the war becoming a wider conflict in the region.
“The U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran. We do not want this war to widen," Blinken said. "But if Iran or its proxies attack U.S. personnel anywhere, make no mistake: We will defend our people."
On the topic of humanitarian assistance, Blinken called on the U.N. to build a mechanism for sustained aid for the Palestinian people.
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