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Kirby: US does not have ‘perfect visibility’ on remaining 8 American hostages

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Sunday that the United States is not sure where Hamas is holding any remaining Americans hostage or of their conditions.

“Well, particularly in Americans, we think the number is about eight,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” when asked about what the U.S. knows about the hostages. “We don’t have perfect visibility on where they all are. We certainly don’t have perfect visibility on their — on their physical or mental condition.”

“We’re trying to do that as best we can, but it’s about eight, and now we also believe that the total population left is somewhere in the neighborhood of about 140,” he continued.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a weeklong truce to release some hostages captured by militants in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. During the truce, Hamas freed more than 100 hostages in exchange for about 240 Palestinian prisoners who were being held in Israel.

The truce ended Friday after Hamas failed to produce another list of hostages — which would only include women and children — to be released. Since then, Israel and Hamas have resumed fighting.

Two Americans were released as part of the truce, President Biden confirmed last week. This included 4-year-old American Israeli citizen Abigail Idan and Liat Atzili, a mother of three whose husband is still being held by Hamas.

The truce agreement only included the release of women and children from Hamas’s control. U.S. officials have said that Hamas had two American women and one child held hostage, meaning that at least one American woman remains in Hamas’s captivity.

Hamas has signaled that it will ask for more in exchange for the release of the male hostages. The U.S. has said Hamas captured seven men who are U.S. citizens. 

It’s unclear whether talks will resume to negotiate another pause in the fighting to release the hostages. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled his country’s negotiators from Qatar on Saturday, saying that they reached an “impasse” with Hamas.

Kirby also said Sunday that “neither side is willing to come back to the table” in Israel-Hamas negotiations.

The Oct. 7 attack left more than 1,200 Israelis dead, with an additional 240 taken hostage by Hamas. Since then, Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed more than 13,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Source: The Hill

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