George W. Bush has called on the US to support Israel, with “no ands, ifs or buts”.
The former President was asked for his thoughts on the war after Hamas launched an attack over the weekend widely compared to the 9/11 terror attacks.
“My thoughts were that we need to support Israel,” Bush said. “No ands, ifs or buts.
“This is an unprovoked attack by terrorists, people willing to kill innocent people to achieve an objective.”
Speaking to historian Mark Updegrove, as reported by Axios, Bush added: “Hamas is a political organisation. They do not reflect the majority of the Palestinians.
“Don’t be surprised if Israel takes whatever action is necessary to defend herself. And it’s gonna be ugly for a while.”
The former President also added: “[Israel has] a very seasoned military but they just called up 300,000 reservists…and to the extent they’d be put in harm’s way it’s gonna be awfully difficult on the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] but he’s got to do what he’s got to do.
“You’re dealing with cold-blooded killers. And you can make all kinds of excuses why they are but they are and [Netanyahu’s] job is to protect his country.
“And anyway, we’ll find out what he’s made of.”
The US has already sent a second US carrier strike group to Israel, just a day after the USS Gerald R. Ford arrived in the Mediterranean.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will also arrive in Israel today to meet with Israeli leaders to discuss what else the US can provide.
It comes as more than a million Palestinians in Gaza City fled to the south of the Strip after Israel gave them 24 hours to evacuate.
Earlier on Friday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) dropped leaflets calling on residents to leave, which said: “Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields.”
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About 1.1 million people out Gaza’s two million plus live in the northern part of the enclave, which includes Gaza City and its outskirts.
The IDF added: “This evacuation is for your own safety. You will be able to return to Gaza City only when another announcement permitting it is made.”
Hamas officials say that 70 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on convoys fleeing Gaza City today.
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