(The Center Square) – Reaction is coming in from all sides in Illinois with the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifying.
Israel formally declared war on Hamas Sunday following unprecedented attacks by Hamas that left hundreds dead, including some Americans. At least 680 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip from Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes.
A large population of people with Palestinian ties live in the Chicago area, particularly in the suburb of Bridgeview. Muhammad Sankari, a member of the Coalition for Justice for Palestine, organized a rally Sunday outside the Israeli consulate in Chicago.
“We are here to say we want a stop to it. We don’t want the United States to be supporting Israel anymore, and we want freedom and liberation of the Palestinian people,” said Sankari.
Illinois U.S. Rep. Darren LaHood, R-Peoria, issued a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, and said the U.S. may need to get involved.
“Israel has every right to defend itself from Hamas’ rocket attacks. The United States must stand with Israel, one of our closest and strongest allies, as they face these acts of terror,” said LaHood.
The U.S. Palestinian Community Network of Chicago said in a statement the attacks were in self-defense of ongoing Israeli occupation and violence in the Gaza Strip.
“Palestinian political & resistance factions are responding right now to decades of apartheid Israel’s brutality & violations of Palestinian national & human rights,” the group posted on social media.
Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, said he has been in touch with constituents who have family in the region to get them information on how to connect with the U.S. embassy in Israel.
“The scale and viciousness of the Hamas terrorist attack is reprehensible, and I support [President Joe Biden’s] offer of support to help Israel defend itself and free any hostages,” said Durbin in a statement.
The attack came on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria.
“On the Holy Sabbath, and on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, Hamas terrorists put on full display to the world their disregard for human life and civilization,” said Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza in a statement. “The State of Illinois stands with the people of Israel and Israel itself.”