Biden believes deal on Hamas captives 'going to happen'

AFP , Tuesday 14 Nov 2023

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday he believes that a deal with Hamas to free the captives they are holding in the Gaza Strip will happen, but did not offer specifics.

Portraits of the captives
A woman walks past portraits of the captives taken by Palestinian resistance in the October 7 offensive during a demonstration calling for their release in Tel Aviv on November 13, 2023. AFP

"I've been talking with people involved every single day. I believe it's going to happen but I don't want to get into detail," Biden told reporters at the White House when asked about an eventual agreement.

When asked if he had a message for the families of those being held by the Palestinian resistance group, he replied: "Hang in there. We're coming."

Nine Americans and a person with permanent US residency are among an estimated 240 people taken captives by Hamas last month when they crossed the border to stage the deadliest offensive in Israeli history.

"I cannot look you in the eye and tell you how many of those captives are still alive," US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told a news conference on Monday.

The Palestanian health ministry says Israel's relentless assault on Gaza has killed at least 11,240 people, including 4,630 children and 3,130 women.

On Tuesday, Qatar urged Israel and Hamas to take up its offer to mediate to reach a deal.

The United States has repeatedly asked for a pause in the fighting to facilitate the liberation of those captured in Gaza.

The White House said Tuesday that Biden's main advisor on the Middle East, Brett McGurk, would head to the region, notably to Qatar, where Hamas has its political office, to discuss the captives issue.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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