The United States has confirmed the deaths of nine American citizens on Monday in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and there is concern about several others whose whereabouts are unknown, raising fears that they may have been abducted.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, "At this time, we can confirm the deaths of nine US citizens."
"We can confirm that there are unaccounted for US citizens, and we are working with our Israeli partners to determine their whereabouts," he added.
In the wake of Hamas' unprecedented ground, air, and sea offensives, Israel has reported more than 700 casualties, and in response, Israel has carried out a relentless series of airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 560 people in that region.
Earlier today, Israel enforced a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip, including the interruption of water supply, while continuing its bombardment of targets within the Palestinian territory. This action is in response to what Israel has compared to the surprise assault by Hamas, drawing parallels to the 9/11 attacks.