October 18, 2023 | Flash Brief

Biden Arrives in Israel as Iran Aims to Destabilize Region

October 18, 2023 | Flash Brief

Biden Arrives in Israel as Iran Aims to Destabilize Region

Latest Developments

President Joe Biden landed in Israel on October 18 to express solidarity with Israel following the Hamas attack on October 7 that killed 1,400 people and resulted in some 200 hostages, including more than a dozen Americans. Biden met with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as first responders and families of victims and hostages. The U.S. president arrived amid an ongoing war, with rocket fire from Gaza ongoing and multiple anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon on October 17.

Biden opened afternoon remarks with, “I come to Israel with a simple message: You are not alone.” He further stated that evidence indicates that the explosion of a Gaza hospital on October 17 was “the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group from Gaza,” later stating the source of this evidence was the U.S. Department of Defense.

Expert Analysis

“Iranian-backed terrorist groups have tried to exploit an explosion near a hospital in Gaza to mobilize threats against the United States and Israel. The regime in Iran seeks to destabilize Iraq and to encourage its proxies in Lebanon, Syria, and other countries to carry out attacks, a cynical exploitation of a tragedy that is designed to sow chaos.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“Israelis have felt incredibly bolstered by Joe Biden’s strong support for Israel since the conflict began. As he arrives in Tel Aviv today, people in Israel will be on the edge of their seats, watching for indications as to whether he will remain steadfast or is beginning to waiver.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Israel Welcomes President Biden

After meeting Israeli leaders, President Biden is expected to focus on the plight of families whose loved ones were abducted by Hamas and on facilitating humanitarian aid for Gaza. Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority cancelled a meeting with Biden scheduled to take place in Amman in the wake of the Gaza hospital explosion.

IDF Provides Evidence Islamic Jihad Rocket Struck Near Hospital

IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel had concluded that Iran-backed Islamic Jihad was responsible for the strike at a hospital in Gaza. He said at a briefing that Hamas inflated the number of casualties and spread false reports after the blast.

Pro-Iranian media incited against Israel and the United States in the wake of the hospital explosion, pushing a conspiracy that accused American forces in Iraq of planning the hospital bombing in Gaza. Overnight, drones targeted U.S. forces in Iraq. Media in Qatar, where Hamas leaders are located, slammed Israel in recent days, suggesting Gaza could be a “Stalingrad” for Israeli forces, a comparison to the city that saw Germany’s defeat in Russia in 1942.

Attacks on Israel Continue from Lebanon

In the first hours of October 18, an anti-tank missile was fired toward Israeli soldiers near Shtula on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, the IDF said in a statement on WhatsApp. The October 17 rocket fire comes after days of escalating tensions between terror organizations in Lebanon and the IDF.

Gaza Hospital Suffers Explosion, Islamic Jihad Misfire Implicated,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Battles Terrorists on Two Fronts,” FDD Flash Brief

One week since the war broke, initial conclusions, and where we are heading?” by Jacob Nagel

Ten Things to Know About Hamas,” FDD Insight


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