Biden: “Very close” to securing release of some hostages held by Hamas

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Smoke rises after Israeli air strikes in Gaza, as seen from southern Israel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday said a deal is “very close” to free some of the more than 200 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.

“My team is in the region shuttling between capitals. We’re now very close, very close, to bringing some of these hostages home very soon. But I don’t want to get into the details because nothing is done until it’s done,” Biden told reporters ahead of a White House event about tackling fentanyl trafficking.

“When we have more to say we will,” he added.

Biden’s optimism echoed similar comments coming from the Middle East.

The leader of Hamas on Tuesday said a truce agreement with Israel was close, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped for good news soon about hostages, the most optimistic signals so far of a deal to pause fighting and free captives.

(Reporting By Steve Holland and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Mark Porter)

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