Israel-Hamas war: 32 Americans dead, 11 unaccounted for, State Department says

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Thursday, October 19, 2023
More blasts seen in Gaza as death toll surpasses 3,700
Ines de la Cuetara is in Jerusalem with the latest on the Israel-Hamas war.

32 Americans have been confirmed dead in Israel and another 11 U.S. citizens are unaccounted for, State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said Thursday.

It comes as the US State Department on advised all US citizens worldwide "to exercise increased caution" due to "increased tensions in various locations around the world.

MORE | State Department issues 'worldwide caution' alert amid Israel-Hamas war

The Israeli military has a "green light" to move into Gaza whenever it's ready, a member of the country's security cabinet told ABC News.

Hostages and civilian casualties will be secondary to destroying Hamas, Economy Minister Nir Barakat told ABC News, "even if it takes a year."

Asked about the miles of tunnels Hamas has built under Gaza, he said they'd become the "world's biggest cemetery." Hamas has claimed to be holding some or all of the 203 Israeli hostages it's taken within that vast network.

"We shall do all efforts to bring our hostages, to bring our hostages [back] alive..." he said, but the "first and last priority" is destroying Hamas.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad together have about 50,000 fighters, said Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, former head of Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency.

MORE | What is Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Israel blames group for Gaza hospital blast