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Biden Urges Egypt and Qatar to Pressure Hamas for Hostage Deal; Efforts Escalate Amidst Israeli Conflict

President Joe Biden has urged Egypt and Qatar to exert pressure on Hamas to agree to a hostage deal with Israel, as reported by a senior administration official. Biden’s national-security adviser, Jake Sullivan, is set to meet with hostage families, while CIA Director William Burns will head to Cairo for talks on the hostage situation, engaging with officials from Israel, Egypt, and Qatar in an effort to secure the release of captives held by Hamas.

During a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden emphasized the imperative to secure the release of hostages, including American citizens, held by Hamas for nearly six months. The discussions centered on empowering Israeli negotiators to reach a deal, initially focusing on securing the release of vulnerable hostages such as women, elderly, sick, and wounded individuals.


Biden (Credits: France 24)

Hamas has continued to detain numerous hostages since a mass slaughter and sexual violence incident on October 7. Despite a rejected temporary cease-fire proposal involving a prisoner exchange, Hamas’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has stated that a permanent cease-fire agreement would necessitate Israel’s full withdrawal from Gaza.

Biden, according to a White House read-out of the call, urged Netanyahu to agree to an immediate cease-fire and empower negotiators to secure a hostage deal. Additionally, Biden expressed humanitarian concerns following the accidental killing of seven World Central Kitchen food-aid workers in Gaza by an Israeli Defense Forces strike.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested that Israel could risk being perceived similarly to Hamas if it fails to address humanitarian concerns related to its conflict with Hamas. In response to the accidental strike, the IDF fired two officers and reprimanded two commanders after an investigation, acknowledging grave mistakes in decision-making and adherence to standard operating procedures.

Meanwhile, Israel is preparing for a potential invasion of Rafah, a city in Gaza bordering Egypt, as part of its ongoing conflict with Hamas, with the Biden administration urging consideration of alternative strategies to minimize casualties.

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