The National Security Council says when President Joe Biden meets with the families of eight Americans presumed to be taken captive by Hamas he’ll guarantee them the U_S_ “won’t stop trying to get them home.”
Biden will meet in person on Wednesday with the families of 8 Americans taken hostage by HamasBy ZEKE MILLERAP White House CorrespondentThe Associated PressWASHINGTON
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday will hold his first in-person meeting with the families of eight Americans still unaccounted for and presumed to be taken captive by Hamas during its brutal Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the White House said.
Family members of all eight would participate in the Biden meeting either in person or virtually, a senior administration official said. The Democratic president has previously met with some family members virtually and spoken to others on the phone. Biden was set to provide an update on American efforts to secure the release of those held by Hamas.
“He’ll guarantee them that we are not going to lose sight of their loved ones, we’re not going to stop trying to get them home,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on CNN as he previewed Biden’s message to the families. Kirby stressed that hourly, U.S. officials are “trying to get more information about them and to get a deal in place where we can get them back home.”
Biden’s meeting with the families of hostages comes as his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, is headed to Israel on Thursday and Friday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, members of his war cabinet, and Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
Eight Americans remain unaccounted for after Hamas’ surprise air, sea and land incursion into Israeli towns, where the group killed about 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, and took more than 240 people hostage. Four Americans were released as part of a U.S.-negotiated cease-fire in Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza that was brokered with the assistance of Qatar and Egypt. One American woman was supposed to be released by Hamas under the terms of last month’s cease-fire, but she remains unaccounted for — a development that contributed to the end of the temporary pause in the fighting.
The White House has said that at least 31 Americans were killed by Hamas and other militant groups on Oct. 7.
Biden will be joined in the meeting by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and deputy national security adviser Jon Finer, the senior administration official said.