White House Clarifies Statement by President Biden
The White House clarified a statement made by US President Joe Biden in an address to Jewish leaders on Wednesday. AFP / Brendan SMIALOWSKI

The White House issued a clarification about statements made by US President Joe Biden alluding to a claim from Israeli media outlets that there is footage of Hamas militants beheading babies circulating throughout the internet.

In his address to Jewish leaders in the White House, President Biden said on Wednesday: "It is important for Americans to see what is happening. I have been doing this for a long time. I never thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children."

According to The Washington Post, the claim that Biden referred to were reports relayed to his office by a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Spokesperson Tal Heinrich reported that there were bodies of "decapitated" children and toddlers in Kfar Aza, an Israeli settlement located northeast of the Gaza Strip.

The White House told American news outlet CNN that Biden nor other US officials have not come across actual footage or verified photos of the aforementioned violent acts. The office also said that President Biden may have alluded to major media reports coming from Israel.

Apart from CNN, other major news outlets like NBC were not able to confirm the existence of the footage independently. Israel Defense Force spokesperson Major Doron Spielman told NBC News: "That specific report and that number I can't confirm."

Hamas also denied media reports that the militant group attacked children, stating that they were false.

Israel declared to annihilate the Gaza Strip after Hamas' initial attack over the weekend. Over the course of the conflict, Israeli media outlets dispersed widespread reports about Hamas' armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, "beheaded many Israeli babies" early Saturday since the group's initial attack from Gaza. The story made its way to international media outlets.

But on Tuesday, a report from Turkish news outlet Anadolu Agency stated that an Israeli army spokesperson said that there was no confirmation of footage that shows Hamas "beheading Israeli babies".

The US and Israel

Israeli PM and former IDF veteran Benjamin Netanyahu's formal declaration of war received unwavering support from the United States. Earlier this week, the Pentagon dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford accompanied by a fleet of naval war vessels and various warplanes close to Israeli seas.

At the same address to Jewish leaders, Biden shared his sympathies with Israel, saying that the attack resulted in a body count of 1,200 people. He notes that the weekend conflict was the "deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust".

However, as Israel's air strike retaliation at the Gaza Strip resulted in a 1,000 and more body count, Biden contacted Netanyahu on Wednesday. The US president urged the right-wing prime minister to "operate by the rules of war".

Meanwhile, former US president and Republican front-runner Donald Trump criticised their historical ally Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

In a rally on Wednesday, Trump said that the settler state failed to help them in compromising the then-head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani. Back in 2020, Trump claimed that Soleimani got hit by a drone strike from the US.

Trump added that he is disappointed because "Bibi tried to take credit for it".