Biden ‘mildly hopeful’ about Hamas hostage release

The US President also urged Israel to be “extremely careful” in its military operation against Gaza’s main hospital.

Joe Biden says he is “mildly hopeful” there will be a deal to free the more than 200 people being held hostage in Gaza.


“I don’t want to get ahead of myself because I don’t know what happened in the last four hours, but we have had great cooperation from the Qataris,” said the US President, following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart. 

Qatar has been leading ongoing negotiations between Israel and Hamas. 

A hostage gave birth in captivity in the Gaza Strip, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. 

When asked by reporters about the Israeli army’s raid against Gaza’s biggest hospital, Biden replied: “We discussed the need to be extremely careful.”

Israeli troops and tanks raided al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza early on Wednesday, sparking serious international concern for the thousands of critically ill patients and displaced civilians trapped inside the facility. 

The Israeli army accuses Hamas of using the medical facility as a military base – something Hamas and hospital staff deny. 

“The idea that they [Israel] are just going to stop and do nothing is not realistic. This is not carpet bombing. This is different. They are going into the tunnels, they are going to the hospital. They also bring incubators. They bring other means to help people in the hospital,” said Biden. 

He added: “Israeli defence forces acknowledge they have an obligation to use as much caution as they can, in going after their targets. It’s not like they’re rushing to the hospital knocking on doors, you know, pulling people aside and shooting people indiscriminately.”

Dozens of Israeli soldiers, some hooded, burst into this hospital early Wednesday, according to a journalist working with AFP on site.

“All men aged 16 and over, raise your hands in the air and exit the buildings towards the inner courtyard to surrender,” soldiers shouted in Arabic.

They also searched crying women and children, the journalist reported. In the hospital corridors, troops sometimes fired into the air as they went from room to room.

Dwindling supplies and no water or electricity have placed those inside the medical facility in a dire humanitarian situation, with the hospital left with no way to run incubators and other lifesaving equipment.

Gaza’s health ministry said 40 patients, including three babies, have died since Shifa’s emergency generator ran out of fuel Saturday.

After days without refrigeration, morgue staff dug a mass grave on Tuesday for 120 bodies in the yard. 

While Israel says it is willing to allow staff and patients to evacuate, some Palestinians who have made it out say Israeli forces have fired at evacuees.

The war was sparked by the Hamas attack on Israeli soil on 7 October, unprecedented since the creation of Israel. 

Around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to the authorities. Israel also counted some 240 people kidnapped, including foreign nationals. 

In retaliation, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, relentlessly shelling the Gaza Strip and placing it under near total siege.


Israeli bombings left 11,500 dead, mostly civilians, including 4,710 children, according to Palestinian officials. 

Washington, which provides significant military aid to Israel, has provided unwavering support to its ally since the attack, saying it has a right to defend itself against Hamas while worrying about the high number of Palestinians killed.