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Biden ‘expects’ some Americans will be released during Israel-Hamas truce

President Biden said Friday that he expects Americans to be among the dozens of hostages released by Hamas this week in the Gaza Strip during a cease-fire agreement in the Israel-Hamas war.

Biden said at a press conference Friday that he could not confirm the health conditions of the approximately 10 Americans said to be being held hostage by Hamas, but that some of them are among the 50 hostages expected to be released in the future. He said he was “hoping” to be included in the list. day to day.

“I don’t know when that will happen, but I expect it to happen,” Biden said of releasing the American hostages.

The ceasefire agreement announced on Wednesday began early Friday morning with the release of 12 Thai and 13 Israeli hostages by Hamas.As part of the agreement, 39 Palestinian prisoners were held by Israel. released into the West Bank.

There were no Americans in the first group of freed hostages.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas has temporarily stopped, and a total of 50 hostages are expected to be freed over the next four days. Biden said he was “hopeful” the four-day ceasefire would be extended and more hostages released.

“That’s our goal,” Biden said of extending the deal.

He celebrated the agreement Friday as a diplomatic victory between the United States, Qatar, Israel, Hamas and other regional powers.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and weeks of personal commitment,” Biden said. “The moment Hamas kidnapped these people, my team and I worked around the clock to secure their release.”

“All of these hostages have been through a terrible ordeal, and this is the beginning of a long journey of healing for them,” he continued. “The teddy bears that greet our children at the hospital are a stark reminder of the trauma they experienced when they were young. Jill and I, and the children with me, are all in our prayers.”

The hostage deal was the culmination of weeks of negotiations involving the White House and foreign governments. Biden is also expected to push for humanitarian aid in Gaza, saying this is a priority for his administration.

“We note that this prolonged cessation of fighting presents a critical opportunity to deliver much-needed food, medicine, water and fuel to civilians in Gaza,” he said. “And we’re not wasting a minute.”

Biden said more than 200 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid arrived at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Friday, including trucks carrying critical fuel supplies. Stated. The enclave ran out of fuel last week, leaving hospitals in darkness and threatening water supplies.

“And hundreds more trucks are likewise in position, preparing to enter Gaza in the coming days to assist innocent Palestinians who are suffering so badly in this war waged by Hamas.” Biden continued. “Hamas doesn’t care about them.”

The President also reiterated his administration’s support for a two-state solution for Israel and for an independent Palestinian government in Gaza liberated from Hamas. Israeli leaders have condemned such plans in recent weeks, despite pressure from the Biden administration.

“As we look to the future, we must end the cycle of violence in the Middle East,” Biden said. “We must renew our resolve to pursue a two-state solution so that Israelis and Palestinians can one day coexist in it with equal freedom and dignity.”

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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