Middle East

Biden says there would be a “ceasefire tomorrow” if Hamas would release remaining hostages

From CNN's Samantha Waldenberg

US President Joe Biden said there would be a “ceasefire tomorrow” if Hamas would release the hostages held in Gaza.

“As I’ve said, it’s up to Hamas — if they wanted to do it, we could end it tomorrow. And the ceasefire would begin tomorrow,” Biden said at a fundraiser in Seattle on Saturday, according to reporters in the room.

Families of the five Americans believed to be held hostage in Gaza met with national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk on Friday.

According to a readout of the meeting from representatives for the families, they “expressed their immense frustration with yet another pause, especially after recent hostage videos showed their loved ones disabled, thin, pale, and under apparent duress” to the Biden administration officials.

Where talks stand: Israeli and Hamas negotiating teams left Cairo without a deal earlier this week.

Hamas militants said Israel’s rejection of a ceasefire plan submitted by mediators at negotiations in Cairo sent hostage release talks back to “square one.” Hamas accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of hindering the ceasefire talks to use negotiations as a cover to attack the southern Gazan city of Rafah.

Israel has repeatedly refused to agree to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza until Hamas has been defeated, even if all hostages are released. On Tuesday, Netanyahu said that “the Hamas proposal was very far from Israel’s core demands.”

CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed reporting to this post.

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