Israel-Hamas War

Illinois ‘unequivocally' stands with Israel amid attacks by Hamas, Pritzker says

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Speaking at an Israel solidarity event, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pledged his support, and that of the state, to the country as the attacks by Hamas continue.

“Each step of the way, they should know, and the people of Israel should all know, that America and Illinois unequivocally stands with them in their battle to end the ongoing Hamas attacks,” he said.

According to the Israeli embassy, more than 1,000 citizens have died in the attacks since they began over the weekend. Israel officials say the border with Gaza has been secured, with security forces locating the bodies of more than 1,500 Hamas militants in the days since the attacks were launched.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization, an army of murderers backed by Iran,” Pritzker said. “Their mask has been removed, executing innocent children and the elderly. There’s a special kind of hell for that.”  

Hamas was designated a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department in 1997. Hamas won elections in the Gaza Strip in 2006, and after a power struggle with Fatah, the organization has maintained political control without elections.

During his remarks, Pritzker drew distinctions between Hamas and the Palestinian civilians who live in Gaza.

“There are many peace-loving Palestinians, and we must honor them,” he said.

Several countries, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy condemned Hamas and added to that distinction.

“All of us recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people,” the statement read, according to NBC News. “But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed.”

At least 830 people have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank during fighting between Israel and Hamas, according to U.S. officials.

Pritzker said he has put state police and local law enforcement on alert to protect synagogues and other gathering places in Illinois.

“There is no immediate threat that the FBI or law enforcement has detected here, but they are remaining vigilant, as should all of you,” he said. “We who believe in peace and freedom and human rights for Israelis, for Palestinians, for all humankind, must reject those who use terror as their weapon.”

Hamas, which launched the surprise attack over the weekend, has continued to launch rockets at Israeli targets, and worries are growing for a group of more than 100 hostages being held by the organization.

President Joe Biden confirmed that there are a number of Americans among that group of hostages.

“We now know American citizens are being held by Hamas,” Biden said. “I’ve directed my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts.”

Biden said that at least 14 Americans have been killed in Israel since the war began.

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