Hamas ‘must be stopped’: US senate leader promises unwavering support for Israel

Palestinian militant group Hamas “must be stopped”, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday as he reiterated United States support to Israel after last week’s attack by the group.

Schumer led a five-member bipartisan Senate delegation which met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet, President Isaac Herzog and families of US citizens held captive in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“We say this to the Israeli people: we have your back, we feel your pain, we ache with you, and we… will stand by you in these difficult times,” Schumer told a news conference.

He vowed Washington would remain Israel’s “unrelenting partner” and said that in the senators’ meeting with Israeli officials, they discussed Israel’s needs to “defend itself” and “extinguish the threat of Hamas.”

Schumer condemned the “vicious, horrible, inhuman nastiness of Hamas,” saying “the world can’t move on”.

“If we don’t prevent the threat of Hamas from recurring, it will happen again… They must be stopped,” he added.

More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas militants stormed Gaza border communities on October 7 and abducted at least 155 others, according to Israeli officials.

Israel has pummelled the narrow Palestinian enclave with air strikes and artillery fire, killing at least 2,670 people.

Schumer said the US Senate would move to prepare an aid package to Israel as the war drags on and reiterated Israel’s “right to defend itself,” and Washington would do “everything it can to get the hostages released.”

Republican Senator Mitt Romney accused Hamas, which rules Gaza, of “holding their own population as human shields,” arguing that any civilian deaths in the Strip are “because of Hamas.”

With hundreds of children among those killed in Gaza, Schumer said “we have to minimize civilian casualties.”

As Israel seeks to avenge the worst attack in its history, the Arab League and African Union warned earlier Sunday a ground invasion could lead to “genocide.”

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