Biden believes deal on Hamas hostages 'going to happen'

Biden said that he was in discussions with the ‘people involved’ daily, but offered no specifics on the potential deal, telling the families of those being held by the Palestinian militant group to ‘hang in there’.

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his "Bidenomics" economic agenda and his Investing in America agenda at an Amtrak facility in New Castle County, Delaware on 6 November 2023. Picture: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

WASHINGTON, United States - US President Joe Biden said Tuesday he believes that a deal with Hamas to free the hostages the militants are holding in the Gaza Strip will happen but did not offer specifics.

"I've been talking with people involved every single day. I believe it's going to happen, but I don't want to get into detail," Biden told reporters at the White House when asked about an eventual agreement.

When asked if he had a message for the families of those being held by the Palestinian militant group, he replied: "Hang in there. We're coming."

Nine Americans and a person with permanent US residency are among an estimated 240 people taken hostage by Hamas fighters in October when they crossed the border to stage the deadliest attack in Israeli history.

"I cannot look you in the eye and tell you how many of those hostages are still alive," US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told a news conference on Monday.

Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, and the White House said the two "discussed at length ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, including many children and a number of Americans."

The 7 October Hamas attack left around 1,200 dead on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, according to the latest official Israeli figures.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says Israel's relentless assault in retaliation has killed more than 11,300 people, also mostly civilians, including thousands of children.

On Tuesday, Qatar urged Israel and Hamas to take up its offer to mediate to reach a deal.

The United States has repeatedly asked for a pause in the fighting to facilitate the liberation of those held in Gaza.

The White House said Tuesday that Biden's main advisor on the Middle East, Brett McGurk, would head to the region, notably to Qatar, where Hamas has its political office, to discuss the hostages issue.