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White House says Biden didn’t hear question after responding ‘yes’ about Israel delaying ground invasion

In a press conference Friday President Biden responded “yes” to a question about Israel delaying a ground invasion until more hostages taken by Hamas are released, the White House later retracted the statement, saying Biden didn’t hear the question.

A reporter asked Biden if Israel should “delay the ground invasion until you can get more hostages out?” Biden responded “yes.”

The reporter asked the question from the ground as Biden was boarding Air Force One as the plane’s engines were on.

White House Communication Director Ben LaBolt later said it was a miscommunication.

“The president was far away. He didn’t hear the full question,” LaBolt said. “The question sounded like ‘Would you like to see more hostages released?’ He wasn’t commenting on anything else.”

The White House said Biden was responding “yes” to the second part of the question, that he does want more hostages released.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for further comment.

Two American hostages, a mother and daughter, were released from Hamas control on Friday, a joint effort between the United States, Qatar and Israel.

Biden traveled to Israel last week to speak with high-ranking officials of the Israeli government and to announce a $100 million humanitarian aid package intended for the civilians of Gaza.

On Wednesday in Tel Aviv, Biden cautioned Israel not to make the same mistakes the United States made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Still, Biden pledged U.S. support for Israel in its mission in remarks from the Oval Office Thursday.

Biden has vowed U.S. support for Israel in its counterattack against Hamas since the start of the conflict, declared a war by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 7 after the group entered the country in a surprise attack.

On Friday, the White House sent a roughly $100 billion emergency aid request to Congress that will send money to the border, allies in the Indo-Pacific, Ukraine and Israel. Israel would receive $14 billion to fund its defense against Hamas.

Airstrikes from Israel have hit Gaza, including areas declared as “safe zones.” More than 1 million Palestinians, roughly half of Gaza’s population, have been forced to flee after Israel told them to evacuate.

Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said 3,785 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 12,500 others have been wounded. More than 1,400 people in Israel were killed in the initial surprise attack.

Updated at 1:11 pm.


Source: The Hill

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