US President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued a stark warning to Iran to “be careful” around its actions in the region following Hamas’ attack on Israel.
During a roundtable roundtable with Jewish community leaders on the administration’s efforts to provide support for Israel, Biden stressed the assistance that the US is providing, adding that he's been frequently speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The US is "surging additional military assistance to the Israeli Defense Force including ammunition, interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome, we moved the US carrier fleet to the eastern Mediterranean and are sending more fighter jets there, to that region, and made it clear, made it clear to the Iranians – be careful," Biden said.
In his remarks, Biden also addressed reports of the atrocities committed by Hamas.
“It matters that Americans see what's happening – I mean, I have been doing this a long time, I never really thought that I would see it and have confirmed pictures of terrorist beheading children," Biden said.
Biden pledged the full force of his administration’s commitment to rescuing hostages in Hamas custody, telling the group that while “we're working on every aspect of the hostage crisis in Israel,” if he relayed in detail what steps the administration was taking, “I wouldn’t be able to get them home.”
“Folks, there's a lot we're doing -- a lot we're doing, I have not given up hope of bringing these folks home,” he said. “But the idea that I'm going to stand here before you and tell you what I'm doing is bizarre, so I hope you understand how bizarre I think it would be to try to answer that question.”
Some context on Iran: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh by phone on Sunday and later congratulated the Palestinian people for their “victory” over Israel.
On Monday, however, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said that the Islamic Republic was “not involved in Palestine’s response,” referring to the Hamas attack. “It is taken solely by Palestine itself,” it said.
Israel says Iran supports Hamas to the tune of some $100 million a year. The US State Department in 2021 said that the group receives funding, weapons, and training from Iran, as well as some funds that are raised in Gulf Arab countries.
The United States has collected specific intelligence that suggests senior Iranian government officials were caught by surprise by Saturday’s attack, according to multiple sources familiar with the intelligence.
The existence of the intelligence has cast doubt on the idea that Iran was directly involved in the planning, resourcing or approving of the operation, the sources said.
Note: After President Biden’s remarks Wednesday, an administration official told CNN neither Biden nor the administration have seen pictures or confirmed reports of children or infants beheaded by Hamas. The official clarified that the president’s remarks were referring to public comments from media outlets and Israeli officials.