Alaska leaders condemn attack on Israel

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U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola. (Alaska Public Media)

Alaska’s congressional delegation and governor have condemned Hamas militants’ weekend surprise attack on Israel, saying they support both Israel’s right to defend itself and U.S. aid to do so.

Early Saturday morning, Hamas fired more than 3,000 rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip, then launched an air, land and sea assault that government officials said left more than 700 Israelis dead. The Associated Press reported that militants have also taken about 130 captives, with Palestinian officials reporting nearly 500 dead in retaliatory air strikes by Israel. U.S. officials confirmed Monday that nine Americans died in the attack.

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan both posted statements on social media Saturday about the attacks. Murkowski said “my heart is heavy” for Israel, families of victims lost in the attack and those wounded or captured.

“I condemn Hamas’ terrorist actions on innocent civilians and call on the international community to join the United States in offering aid to Israel and unequivocally supporting Israel’s right to defend themselves from these atrocities,” she said.

Sullivan echoed those sentiments, calling the attack a “disgraceful” act committed by “Hamas terrorists.” He also called for renewed scrutiny of Iran, which has long supported Hamas and in late 2008 openly backed its 22-day war with Israel.

“Israel has a right to defend itself and its existence against any terrorist group or its backers, including the largest state sponsor of terrorism — Iran,” Sullivan said. “We must support this right of our close ally during this horrendous attack on innocent Israelis. The terrorist regime in Iran must know that the United States is watching its actions very closely.”

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola also posted Saturday, backing Israel’s right to defend itself against “these appalling attacks on civilians.”

“This shocking violence achieves nothing but creating more fear, anger, and loss. My heart is with all the victims and their families, and I am praying for a swift end to the fighting,” Peltola said.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy also condemned the attack in a Sunday post, calling for “the Biden Administration and Congress to act immediately to support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and eliminate the threat from Hamas.”

NPR reported that President Biden has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and assured him that the U.S. stands with Israel. The U.S. Navy is sending ships to the region.

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Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him more about Chrishere.

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