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The White House says an Israeli hostage deal is ‘closer than we’ve ever been’

Artillery fire from an Israeli position hits the hills near the outskirts of the border town of Odaisseh in southern Lebanon.
Artillery fire from an Israeli position hits the hills near the outskirts of the border town of Odaisseh in southern Lebanon.

On Monday, members of the Biden administration said they are “doing everything we can” to achieve an agreement to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the president was hopeful a deal could be reached to release all the hostages “including young children … we believe we’re closer than we’ve ever been.”

More than 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza, two-thirds of them women and children, have been killed since the war began, that’s according toPalestinian health authorities. About 4,000 people are reported missing. Around 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. Around 240 were taken hostage.

And there’s anxiety in the White House that Israeli military action along the border with Lebanon could spark a wider regional war. Senior Biden adviser Amos Hochstein arrived in Israel on Monday for talks with senior Israeli officials. Since the Oct. 7 attacks, Hezbollah has attacked Israeli troops at the Lebanese border and Israel has launched air and artillery strikes against southern Lebanon.

We get the latest on these stories from Axios political reporter and Middle East expert Barak Ravid.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

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Maya Garg
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