PROVIDENCE (WPRI) — Flags in Rhode Island will be flown at half staff through Saturday to honor the lives lost during Hamas’ unprecedented and unexpected attack in Israel over the weekend.
Hamas gunmen stormed from the blockaded Gaza Strip and into nearby Israeli towns on Saturday, killing hundreds and wounding thousands.
Israel has since declared war on Hamas and promised to punish the Gaza Strip for the deadly assault by increasing airstrikes, as well as cutting off their access to supplies.
The conflict has so far killed more than 1,600 and injured thousands of others. Hundreds remain missing, and Hamas had already threatened to execute civilian hostages should Israel continue to retaliate.
Sen. Jack Reed believes strong international support for Israel will be the key to ending the conflict swiftly.
But not everyone feels the same way.
Satya Mohapatra was one of nearly 100 people to rally against ongoing support for Israel in downtown Providence.
“United States politicians have blood on their hands,” Mohapatra said.
Mohapatra appears to be outnumbered by Rhode Islanders who support Israel, however, including Gov. Dan McKee.
“Rhode Island stands with the people of Israel and condemns these terrorist attacks,” McKee said. “But make no mistake, that such atrocities are deserving of condemnation worldwide.”
WATCH: Massachusetts Rep. Jake Auchincloss on the developments in Israel (Story continues below.)
Reed, who is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the United States has already taken appropriate action to support the Israelis.
“We’ve moved a carrier battle group into place to support the Israelis,” Reed said. “But that’s a support mission. We are not actively engaged.”
The United States is also moving equipment to a central command post to provide intelligence and ammunition The command post will allow them to be ready to react in case of an escalation.
“I think we all pray that all these innocent hostages are released without being harmed,” Reed said.
Reed said more needs to be done to prevent these conflicts from happening.
“In the long run, there has to be some type of political solution involving the Palestinians so that they also have an opportunity to live securely,” Reed explained. “It’s a very complicated situation, and it’ll get more complicated. But in my experience with the Middle East, everything is complicated over there.”
WATCH: Senator Reed on the war in Israel (Story continues below.)
Lt. General Reggie Centracchio said he is concerned about the U.S. getting involved in yet another conflict in the global economy.
“Our major concern should be our own integrity, our own safety within this country and certainly we’re concerned about those things happening outside our country but our priorities and our resources should be geared to protecting the United States and only the United States,” he said.