Lawmakers are vowing to get their constituents out of Israel in the wake of the attacks launched by the militant group Hamas.
In a surprise move, Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an attack on Israel on Saturday, which has now left at least 600 dead in Israel and another 300 dead in Gaza. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said Sunday that he is in touch with constituents who are currently in Israel amid the attacks.
“Well, we have been in touch with dozens of constituents who are in Israel currently. Obviously, for their safety and security, I’m not going to get too specific. But we are working with them, as well as the consulate, to try and get them out as quickly as possible,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“Given the situation on the ground, we want to make sure that all of our residents here in the 17th District get home as quickly as possible,” he added.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) also said that he has been notified by 53 of his own constituents on Sunday, saying that they are “panicked” and “trying to find their way to get back to America.”
“If anybody — if you haven’t been to Israel, in southern Israel by the Gaza border, by Gaza City, yes, it is really easy for them to come across that border. That’s what we saw. We need to provide every assistance possible to Israel to get Americans back,” Donalds said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“And, listen, let me be very clear with Hamas. Touch an American’s head and see what happens to you. That’s my position. That needs to be the position of the president of the United States right now. We need to get those people back and support Israel in every way possible to see that happen,” he added.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that U.S. officials have received reports that several Americans have been killed in Israel and that they are working to verify the reports. It’s also been reported that Hamas has taken people in Israel, including women and children, as hostages.
“Yes, we have reports that several Americans were killed,” Blinken told CNN’s Dana Bash when asked whether Americans were killed or kidnapped in Israel.
“We’re working overtime to verify that. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans, and there again, we’re working to verify those reports,” he said.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was also in Jerusalem on Saturday as Hamas launched their first round of attacks. His office confirmed Sunday that the senator had safely departed Israel after needing to shelter in place with his staff.