Biden says Gaza captives release 'only a start'

AFP , Ahram Online , Friday 24 Nov 2023

US President Joe Biden said Friday's release of the first group of captives taken by Hamas was just a "start" and that there were "real" chances to extend the temporary truce in Gaza.

US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Nantucket, Mass., on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, about captives freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day truce deal. AP


Speaking to reporters in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he spent the Thanksgiving holiday with his family, Biden said, "Today's releases are the start of a process. We expect more captives to be released tomorrow. And more the day after and more the day after that. Over the next few days, we expect that dozens of captives will be returned to their families."

"In the early morning, 13 Israeli captives were released...all these have been through a terrible ordeal, and this is the beginning of a long journey of healing for them...Today has been a product of so much hard work and weeks of personal engagement," Biden added.

Furthermore, The US president stated, "From the moment Hamas captured these people, I, along with my team, have worked around the clock to secure the release we saw. I have spoken repeatedly with the Emir of Qatar, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu to help secure this deal, and I want to thank all three leaders for their personal partnership to get this done."

"This truce in the fighting brings a critical opportunity to deliver much-needed food, medicine, water, and fuel to the civilians suffering in the Gaza Strip. We are not wasting one single minute," Biden affirmed.

When asked about the American captives, the US president said he hoped and expected that the American hostages would be released soon, adding that he does not know much about their condition.

Since Hamas' Operation Al-Aqsa flood on 7 October, Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and launched an air and ground aggression on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 15,000 people, 6,150 of whom are children.

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