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Netanyahu downplays talk of hostage deal after Biden says he believes it’ll happen

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that information about any deal for the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza will be made public “if and when” there are concrete developments, appearing to downplay remarks made a short while earlier by US President Joe Biden, saying he believed a hostage deal will happen soon.

Meanwhile, several media outlets reported that the head of the Shin Bet security service, Ronen Bar, had traveled to Cairo and met Egypt’s Intelligence Minister Abbas Kamel to discuss a potentially emerging deal to free some of the 240 hostages.

A source involved in the talks told the Kan public broadcaster that the sides were the “closest” they have been to a deal.

  • Additionally, the American ABC network cited an unnamed senior Israeli political source saying Tuesday that progress had been made and a “breakthrough could come in the next 48-72 hours.”

Netanyahu, in a statement issued by his office, expressed support for the hostages and their relatives, emphasizing efforts to free the captives.

  • “Our hearts are with all the hostages and their families,” he said in a statement.
  • “Since the beginning of the war, we have been working ceaselessly for the release of our captives, including the exertion of increasing pressure since the beginning of the ground operation,” he added.

“If and when there will be something concrete to report, we will do so.”

The last sentence was possibly meant to counter the impression given by the remark from Biden, who was asked at the end of a press conference what his message was to the families of those held by terrorists in Gaza.

“Hang in there, we’re coming,” he replied.

  • “I’ve been talking to the people involved every single day. I believe it’s going to happen, but I don’t want to get into any detail,” Biden added.

Hamas-led terrorists took the hostages during their devastating October 7 attack on Israel, in which they killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians butchered in their homes and at a music festival. Israel then declared war with the aim of toppling the terror group’s regime in Gaza, which it has ruled since taking over in 2007.

Source: TOI