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US and our partners have not given up: Biden marks 100 days in captivity for Hamas hostages in Gaza

s the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas persists, a dire humanitarian crisis unfolds

US and our partners have not given up: Biden marks 100 days in captivity for Hamas hostages in Gaza

US President Joe Biden (Reuters)

WASHINGTON DC: US President Joe Biden has vowed that his administration will continue with its efforts to free hostages seized by Hamas 100 days ago when the terrorist group attacked Israel. In a statement on Sunday, Biden said that the United States and its partners have not given up yet.

"In November, working in close coordination with Qatar, Egypt, and Israel, we brokered a seven-day pause in fighting that resulted in the release of 105 hostages--including a 4-year-old American child--and allowed us to surge additional vital humanitarian aid into Gaza. I was deeply engaged to secure, sustain, and extend that deal.

Sadly, Hamas walked away after just one week," Biden said. "But the United States and our partners have not given up. Secretary Blinken was back in the region this past week seeking a path forward for a deal to free all those still being held. 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," he noted. In his statement Biden said, "Today we mark a devastating and tragic milestone."

The US President said that the 100 hostages who are still held captive by Hamas, include six Americans as well. "Today, we mark a devastating and tragic milestone--100 days of captivity for the more than 100 innocent people, including as many as six Americans, who are still held being hostage by Hamas in Gaza. For 100 days, they have existed in fear for their lives, not knowing what tomorrow will bring," Biden said, according to a White House press release.

"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," he added. Biden reaffirmed his pledge to the hostages and their families and assured that the US will continue to work for it.

"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," the White House quoted Biden as saying. "On this terrible day, I again reaffirm my pledge to all the hostages and their families--we are with you. We will never stop working to bring Americans home," he said. Meanwhile US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also released a statement on Sunday saying US officials were working "around the clock" to secure the release of every hostage.

"It is impossible for any of us to understand what they have endured over those 100 days, but I have met with many of their families and delivered a clear message: The United States is with you and we will not rest until you are reunited with your loved ones. We continue to work around the clock to secure the release of every hostage," Blinken said.

As the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas persists, a dire humanitarian crisis unfolds. The ensuing airstrikes have strained local hospitals, leading to the internal displacement of an estimated one million people in Gaza, an area known for its high population density, CNN reported.

Over 1,200 casualties have been reported in Israel, while in Gaza, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health claims that more than 20,000 people have lost their lives since Hamas initiated unprecedented attacks on Israel on October 7.

The conflict in Gaza escalated after the October 7 attack by Hamas, where about 2,500 terrorists breached the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip, leading to casualties and the seizure of hostages. Israel has characterised its Gaza offensive as targeting Hamas' infrastructure with the goal of eliminating the entire terror group while making efforts to minimize civilian casualties.

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