Several U.S. senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties stood united in support of Israel Sunday, as they condemned Hamas' attacks on Israel and accused Iran of working with the militant group.
Despite Tehran's denial of any involvement in the October 7th surprise attack by Hamas on the Jewish state, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, dismissed the claim and said the destruction of Hamas was imminent.
"The idea that this happened without Iranian involvement is laughable," Graham told journalists at a press conference, referencing Iran's history with the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei.
"93% of the budget over decades – the training, the equipment – all coming from the Ayatollah," Graham added.
Reiterating earlier assurances of support for Israel by U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, both of whom visited the country following the attacks, Graham said, "America will be with you," and extended a hand of peace to Arab nations, while making it known that Hamas' destruction was "non-negotiable."
"I do not hate Palestinians, I hate Hamas," Graham said, clarifying "I know the difference."
Other senators in attendance also spoke against Hamas, and offered messages of condolences and support to Israel.
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of the Democratic party condemned Hamas for the deadly assault it committed against Israel, describing it as a barbaric action that rose to the level of crimes against humanity.
"We are all involved in this," said Cardin.
"It's in the United States' interest, it's in the interest of the civility of our planet, for us to stand united against Hamas (which) must never again be able to do this type of harm to anyone," he added.
On Friday, Hamas released two of the estimated 200 hostages it took following its attack on Israel, but the fate of the rest remains unknown.
Putting a spotlight on hostages, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, told reporters that she and her fellow senators had met with their families and held up a picture of a three-year abducted girl named Abigail, whose parents were killed while trying to protect her.
"Her mother was murdered, and her father was murdered as he was trying to rush little Abigail away. What kind of people commit such atrocities? This is not a close call. This is a clear case," Collins said.
"Hamas is a terrorist group, and we must do all that we can to support Israel in its quest to eliminate Hamas," she added.
Senator Richard Blumenthal fought back tears as he met the U.S. families and said he related to the their pain.
"Today, one of my cousins is on the front in the IDF (Israel Defense Force)," shared Blumenthal of the Democratic Party.
"When I met with those hostages, I saw in every one of them my family. They are Americans in their dedication to freedom and values of America, and in their grief and fear they can unite America," he added.
Information for this article was sourced from Reuters.