US says hostages must be returned for a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip


US President Joe Biden spoke with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, about the situation in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

The White House said in a statement that the two leaders agreed that the release of hostages held by Hamas is essential to reaching a longer-term truce.

"The two leaders emphasized that reaching an agreement on the hostages is essential to achieving a long-term humanitarian truce in the fighting and ensuring that additional life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches civilians in need throughout Gaza."

Brett McGurk, Biden's advisor for Middle East affairs, had visited Doha a few days ago to discuss the possibility of concluding another exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.

White House spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday that the United States would support a longer humanitarian truce in the fighting in Gaza to ensure the release of hostages and the entry of more aid.

Biden also spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Friday.

The White House said in a statement that the two sides discussed intensifying efforts to increase the sending of life-saving humanitarian aid to all parts of the Gaza Strip and agreed to continue their close coordination on humanitarian assistance.

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