President Biden said Tuesday that efforts to bring home hostages being held by Hamas are “looking good,” amid reporting that a tentative deal has been made to release hostages.
“We are now very close, very close. We could bring some of these hostages home very soon, but I don’t want to get into the details of things, because nothing is done until it’s done. And if we have more to say, we will. But things are looking good at the moment,” Biden said during a meeting at the White House.
The president noted that his top officials have been working for weeks to bring home hostages and that he recently spoke with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, about the hostages. He also said his “team has been in the region shuttling between capitals.”
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Netanyahu is convening his war cabinet and then his security cabinet and the government on Tuesday evening local time, which could signal a breakthrough in hostage negotiations.
The leader of Hamas said earlier Tuesday that an agreement was close, Reuters reported.
Hamas kidnapped about 240 people from Israel on Oct. 7, during the attacks by the U.S.-designated terrorist organization that killed at least 1,200 people. Hamas has since released four people as part of intensive negotiations through Egypt, Qatar and the U.S. and Israel.
In recent days, Biden and his top officials have expressed cautious optimism that the negotiations with Hamas to secure the release of hostages, likely women and children, were progressing. The administration has said that the youngest American hostages is a 3-year-old toddler, but it’s not clear how many more, if any, of the hostages are Americans.