‘We Don’t Know’: Biden Has No Update On Freeing Of American Hostages While Touting Release Deal

[Photo Credit: White House | Screenshot]

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden said he had no update on when American hostages would be freed from the terrorist organization Hamas’ custody while touting a release deal on Friday.

Hamas released 13 Israeli civilians as well as 12 Thai nationals Friday, its first out of a batch of a total of 50 hostages, while Israel and the terrorist organization paused its fighting. Two Americans were released in October while at least nine remain unaccounted for following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. After Biden gave a Friday address championing the hostage release deal, a reporter asked the president when the first American hostages would be released.

“We don’t know when that will occur [inaudible] but we expect it to occur. And we don’t know what the list of all the hostages are and when they’ll be released. But we know the numbers that are going to be released. It is my hope and my expectation it’ll be soon,” the president said.

Following negotiations between the U.S., Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials, Israel’s cabinet approved a deal that would allow a temporary pause in fighting while Hamas released a number of hostages. The pause is expected to last four days and Israel will release 150 of is Palestinian prisoners as a part of the deal. Hamas will release more hostages each day of the pause.

“Beginning this morning under a deal reached by extensive U.S. diplomacy, including numerous calls I’ve made from the Oval Office across the region, fighting in Gaza will halt for four days,” the president said in a speech Friday which addressed the release of the first hostages. “This deal also was structured to allow a pause to continue for more than 50 hostages to be released. That’s our goal.”

The president has faced calls from others within his administration as well as those within his own party to call for a ceasefire in the fighting. White House national security spokesperson John Kirby has repeated that the White House believes such a measure would only benefit Hamas.

“Today has been a product of a lot of hard work and weeks of personal engagement,” the president said Friday. “From the moment Hamas kidnapped these people, I along with my team have worked around the clock to secure their release. We saw the first result of this ever with the release of two American hostages in late October followed by the release of two Israeli hostages.”