Trump claims ‘incredible’ Israel attacks wouldn’t happen under his watch

Former president calls Hamas attack ‘vicious’ and noted that ‘young children’ were ‘just slaughtered’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 10 October 2023 10:34 EDT

Trump claims ‘vicious’ Israel-Hamas conflict ‘wouldn’t happen’ if he was president

Donald Trump has said that the “incredible” attacks on Israel by Hamas wouldn’t have happened if he had been president.

During a campaign speech in New Hampshire on Monday, Mr Trump said: “What happened yesterday was incredible ... so many people killed ... the number was much bigger than they reported even this morning. It's a very big number, very, very big number”.

The former president went on to call it a “vicious” attack and noted that “young children” were “just slaughtered”.

“It's terrible what's going on,” he added.

Mr Trump then quickly segued into a reading of the song The Snake by Al Wilson.

“This is The Snake and people love it and I’ll do it if people want to hear it, some people have heard it, some people haven't. But we'll do it right?”

Reading the lyrics from a sheet, he quoted: “On our way to work one morning, down the path along the lake, a tender-hearted woman saw a poor, half-frozen snake.”

More than 1,000 people have now been killed in Israel, and at least 765 people have been killed in Gaza following the beginning of the attack by Hamas on Saturday. Israel is now hitting Gaza with heavy airstrikes, so far displacing more than 100,000 people.

The Israeli military has said that Gaza is facing a “complete siege”. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations told CNN that the goal is “to obliterate Hamas terrorist capabilities”.

Hamas has threatened to kill civilian hostages and to broadcast the executions if Gaza is hit by airstrikes without advance warning. Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the network that the number of hostages is estimated to be between 100 and 150. Hamas claims that officers from the Israeli army are among the captives.

Meanwhile, a former US general pushed back on Republicans blaming President Joe Biden for the attacks, arguing he hasn’t sufficiently supported Israel. Retired army general Mark Hertling reminded the GOP that Mr Trump allegedly told the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the then-Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, that Israel had hacked ISIS computers to get ahold of information about plans to set off bombs in the West in a 2017 meeting at the White House.

A Russian foreign ministry photo showing Donald Trump with Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their meeting in the White House in May 2017

Mr Trump has been heavily criticised for allegedly sharing classified information with Russia, an ally of Iran, which is a major supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, another anti-Isreal group in Lebanon, which, like Hamas, has been labelled as a terror organisation.

Republicans have slammed Mr Biden for unfreezing $6bn of Iranian funds strictly to be used for humanitarian efforts, but which the GOP has claimed have allowed Iran to fund Hamas and the attack on Israel. Part of the deal was the release of five US citizens being held in Iran.

Conservatives have argued that the unfrozen assets are “fungible” – meaning that the funds could allow Iran to reallocate other assets towards non-humanitarian schemes.

“For all those focused on ‘fungible’ perhaps this is something to be considered,” Gen Hertling wrote, linking to a post by the liberal political action committee Meidas Touch.

“FLASHBACK: Trump shared classified intelligence from Israel with Russia - and admitted to it. Israeli intelligence feared it would end up in the hands of Iran,” the PAC wrote on Sunday.

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