Biden says he believes Gaza hostage release deal near

Biden Says He Believes Gaza Hostage Release Deal Near
A Palestinian medic cares for premature babies, evacuated from Gaza City's Al Shifa hospital, ahead of their transfer from a hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip to Egypt, on November 20th, 2023. Photo: Getty Images
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US president Joe Biden said on Monday he believes a deal is near to secure the release of some of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, telling reporters "I believe so" when asked at the White House about a possible agreement.

Reuters reported last week that Qatari mediators had been seeking a deal between Israel and Hamas to exchange 50 hostages in return for a three-day ceasefire that would help boost emergency aid shipments to Gaza civilians, citing an official briefed on the talks.


About 240 hostages were taken during Hamas's deadly cross-border rampage into Israel on October 7th, which prompted Israel to invade the tiny Palestinian territory to wipe out the Islamist militant group.

About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Hamas assault, according to Israeli tallies, the deadliest day in Israel's 75-year-old history.

Since then, Gaza's Hamas-run government said at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5,500 children, by unrelenting Israeli bombardment.

Despite ongoing fighting, Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, told ABC News on Sunday that Israel was hopeful a significant number of hostages could be released by Hamas "in coming days".


The father of a nine-year-old Irish-Israeli child who was taken hostage during the Hamas assault on Israel has said he will believe a deal to release hostages is in place “when I see it”.

Thomas Hand initially thought his daughter Emily, who had been attending a sleepover at a friend’s house, had been killed on October 7th, but was later told she had been kidnapped and taken to Gaza.

Mr Hand said at a press conference at the Israeli embassy in London on Monday morning that he was living through a “nightmare” and getting Emily back was his “reason for living”.

Mr Hand, who cried as he spoke of his missing daughter, said: “I pray I get Emily back.

“I don’t know what condition she’s going to be in, but she’s going to be very broken mentally and physically and we’ll have to fix that.

“It’s going to take a long time to fix that.

“That’s what we’ve got to do and we will do it no matter how long it takes.

“That’s my prime focus, my reason for living and getting up in the morning every day.”

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