US official says there will only be a ‘significant pause’ in Gaza when hostages released

US National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk speaks during the IISS Manama Dialogue security conference, in Manama on November 18, 2023. (Mazen Mahdi / AFP)
US National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk speaks during the IISS Manama Dialogue security conference, in Manama on November 18, 2023. (Mazen Mahdi / AFP)

US President Joe Biden’s main adviser on the Middle East says there will only be a “significant pause” in the Israel-Hamas war if hostages held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza are freed.

“The surge in humanitarian relief, the surge in fuel, the pause… will come when hostages are released,” Brett McGurk tells a security conference in Bahrain.

Release of a large number of hostages would result in “a significant pause… and a massive surge of humanitarian relief,” he says.

McGurk says Biden discussed the issue last night with the ruler of the Gulf nation of Qatar, which is leading mediation efforts towards a ceasefire and release of the captives.

There are believed to be some 240 hostages kidnapped from Israel and held captive in Gaza. Since October 7, four have been released and one was rescued by the IDF, while the military has recovered the bodies of two hostages in Gaza in the past few days.

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