(WPRI) — Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is among 10 United States Senators visiting the Middle East this weekend in a show of support for Israel.
The delegation landed in Saudi Arabia Friday for a series of diplomatic meetings with Saudi officials to discuss current political affairs and security matters in the region.
The meetings had been planned prior to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas. The elected officials say they will put their security discussions on hold for now and focus the attention of their meetings on how to support Israel’s efforts to dismantle Hamas.
“Together, we are here, all of us to stand with Israel,” Reed said. “We have to help the state of Israel degrade and ultimately destroy Hamas.”
While in the region, members of the delegation took a trip to Israel to tour the damage, meet with families of hostages taken by Hamas and hear the stories of the people left in ruins.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said, “The level of barbaric behavior here is beyond my ability to explain it.”
Senator Reed reiterated the goal of destroying the Hamas terrorist group. Reed said, “we also have to stand, the United States, as a bulwark against the expansion of this conflict into other areas.”
According to the Associated Press, fears of a widening war continue to grow as Israeli warplanes struck targets across Gaza Sunday, along with two airports in Syria and a mosque in the occupied West Bank.
Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah militants since the war began. Tensions are soaring in the West Bank, where Israeli forces have battled militants in refugee camps and carried out two airstrikes in recent days.
The senators’ visit to the region comes just days after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in Washington affirming its support of Israel and condemning the actions of Hamas.
The bipartisan resolution passed nearly unanimously with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul the only one not signing on.