Biden says he believes hostage release will happen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he is engaged in daily discussions to secure a release of hostages being held by Hamas and he believes it is going to happen.

Hang in there, we’re coming,” Biden said at the White House, when asked by reporters what his message to family members of hostages would be.

Biden said he speaks every day with the parties involved in negotiations over a possible hostage release, but did not want to share the details.

Hamas fighters surged across the border from Gaza into Israel on Oct.7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials. Only four hostages have been released to date.

In a White House statement on Sunday, Biden “unequivocally” condemned the holding of hostages by Hamas, including many young children, one of whom is a 3-year old American citizen whose parents were killed by the group on Oct. 7th.

The families of Israelis being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip kicked off a five-day march on Tuesday from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to demand the government does much more to secure their release.

In Washington, supporters planned a “March for Israel” later on Tuesday, following large protests across the United States and the world against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

The Israeli bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, around 40% of them children, according to counts by health officials in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Reuters last week reported that Qatar, where several political leaders of Hamas are based, has been leading mediation efforts between Hamas and Israeli officials over the hostages.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Steve Holland, Susan Heavey, Katharine Jackson; Editing by Doina Chiaacu)

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