ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Biden discusses efforts to secure hostage deal with Qatari leader

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden discussed efforts to secure the release of the roughly 240 hostages being held by terror groups in Gaza during his latest phone call with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani earlier today.

Biden “condemned unequivocally the holding of hostages by Hamas, including many young children, one of whom is a 3-year old American citizen toddler, whose parents were killed by Hamas on October 7,” the White House says, highlighting the specific plight of a young American hostage for what appears to be the first time.

Biden also expressed his appreciation to Qatar for its efforts in mediating the release of four hostages last month, two of whom were US citizens, the White House says.

The two leaders discussed the need to protect civilians in Gaza and ensure the continuous flow of humanitarian aid into the enclave, the White House readout adds, noting that Biden also welcomed the $100 million commitment from the Gulf Cooperation Council to support the humanitarian response, which matched the US contribution announced last month.

Biden “affirmed his vision for a future Palestinian state where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side with equal measures of stability and dignity. arguing that Hamas has been an impediment to this outcome, according to the White House readout.

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