If and when there will be “something concrete to report” on the fate of as many as 240 hostages held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem will do so, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday evening.
“Since the beginning of the war, we have been working relentlessly for the release of the hostages, including using increased pressure since the start of the ground incursion,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying in a statement from his office.
“Our hearts are always with the hostages and their families,” added the premier.
Netanyahu’s remarks came shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden signaled that a deal might be imminent. “I believe it’s going to happen. But I don’t want to get into detail,” the president told journalists at the White House.
Asked what his message is to the families of the approximately 240 hostages in Gaza, Biden responded, “Hang in there, we’re coming.”
Israel and Hamas are considering a deal that would include the release of most of the women and children being held hostage by the Palestinian terror group, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
In exchange, Jerusalem would agree to a temporary ceasefire of up to five days, allow an influx of goods into the Strip and release a certain number of jailed Palestinians.
“The general outline of the deal is understood,” an Israeli official was quoted as saying. Israel is reportedly seeking the release of 100 women and children, whereas Hamas is reportedly considering freeing 70.
Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz has said the Israel Defense Forces operation against Hamas will not stop, “even if a ceasefire is required in order to return hostages.”
“We continue until our goals are achieved,” Gantz told troops serving on the Jewish state’s northern border on Tuesday.
Israel has stated that its goal is to topple Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as military and political entities. Hamas has repeatedly declared that it seeks the complete destruction of the Jewish state.