Jonathan Ernst – Reuters
President Joe Biden participates in a roundtable with Jewish community leaders in the Indian Treaty Room in the East Wing of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, October 11.
President Joe Biden Graph It was intended to describe the atrocities in Israel “To underscore the absolute depravity” of Hamas’ attacks on civilians, the White House says, even if he had not personally seen or confirmed the images he described.
Speaking from the Indian Treaty Chamber, Biden on Wednesday He told a crowd of Jewish leaders: “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I really didn’t think I would see or confirm the images of terrorists beheading children.
Later that evening, an administration official told CNN that neither Biden nor the administration had seen photos or confirmed reports of children or infants being beheaded by Hamas. The official explained that the president’s statements were in reference to general comments from the media and Israeli officials. Since taking office, Biden has on a number of occasions gone off script to make comments that later required clarification by his staff, including on Taiwan and Russia.
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Wednesday that children and infants were found “headless” in Kfar Azza on Heinrich Hill. CNN was unable to independently verify this report, and Hamas said that media reports about children being attacked are incorrect.
On Thursday, Netanyahu showed horrific photos of children whose bodies were burned beyond recognition and the blood-stained body of a third child to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was visiting Israel.
During a press conference, Blinken became emotional as he described seeing photos of Hamas attack victims that “almost defy comprehension.”
“A baby, riddled with bullets. Soldiers beheaded. Young people have been burned alive in their cars or in their hidden rooms,” Blinken said.
“It’s beyond what anyone can imagine, let alone actually see and, God forbid, experience,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at the White House later on Thursday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby cited these images when explaining Biden’s comments the previous day.
He said: “It is certain that the president’s comments yesterday… confirm the absolute corruption and barbaric nature with which these terrorists killed and slaughtered innocent Israeli civilians.”
“This further highlights why we want to stay with Israel — and that is the exact point the president made yesterday. We have to continue to make sure they get the support they need.”
When stressing further the importance of maintaining factual accuracy when describing events on the ground, Kirby said that the White House takes seriously “the need to be as realistic and honest as possible.”
But he said the truth is that the full extent of Hamas’ corruption is still unknown.
“We all have to be prepared for the fact that there will be additional horrific images that will emerge, and there will be some very difficult reporting that we will all have to digest. This is not over yet,” he said.
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