Biden marks 100 days of captivity for hostages in Gaza

President Biden marked 100 days since hostages were taken from Israel on Oct. 7, reiterating his commitment to rescue the approximately 140 people still held by Hamas in Gaza, including as many as six Americans.

“For 100 days, they have existed in fear for their lives, not knowing what tomorrow will bring,” Biden said in a statement. “For 100 days, their families have lived in agony, praying for the safe return of their loved ones. And for each of those 100 days, the hostages and their families have been at the forefront of my mind as my national security team and I have worked non-stop to try to secure their freedom.”

Just over 100 hostages were released during a weeklong pause in fighting in a deal mediated by Qatar that involved Israel, the U.S. and Hamas in November, but no hostages have been released since. Biden vowed to continue such work in the future but also blamed Hamas for the resumption of fighting late last year.

“But the United States and our partners have not given up,” he continued. “I look forward to maintaining close contact with my counterparts in Qatar, Egypt, and Israel to return all hostages home and back to their families.”

The Israeli government announced Friday that it reached a deal with Hamas, through Qatari mediators, to supply medicine for the remaining hostages.

Ground fighting in Gaza has slowly advanced as the U.S. continues to pressure the Israeli government to pare back its offensive in the region, citing significant civilian casualties and a dire humanitarian crisis.

The Israeli military strategy has faced criticism from many in Israel and the U.S., including the families of some hostages, who claim that the efforts to snuff out Hamas in an all-out offensive only put the remaining hostages’ lives at risk.

The Biden administration and Israel have publicly disagreed on what a future postwar Gaza looks like, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushing back on the notion of the Palestinian Authority ruling over the enclave.

Biden reaffirmed Sunday that ultimately, the U.S. role in the conflict is focused on the hostages’ well-being.

“I will never forget the grief and the suffering I have heard in my meetings with the families of the American hostages. No one should have to endure even one day of what they have gone through, much less 100,” he said.

“On this terrible day, I again reaffirm my pledge to all the hostages and their families — we are with you,” he continued. “We will never stop working to bring Americans home.”

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