Biden, Macron welcome rescue of four Israeli hostages

US President Joe Biden (L) reacts as he is welcomed by France's President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a bilateral meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/dpa
US President Joe Biden (L) reacts as he is welcomed by France's President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a bilateral meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/dpa

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the rescue of four hostages from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, who were freed in an Israeli special forces operation earlier in the day.

Biden, speaking at a joint press conference at the Élysée Palace in Paris, said the United States would keep working until all hostages returned home.

His national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, praised the Israeli military in a statement.

"We commend the work of the Israeli security services that conducted this daring operation," Sullivan said.

He used the occasion to push for a hostage-ceasefire deal, saying it "would secure the release of all the remaining hostages together with security assurances for Israel and relief for the innocent civilians in Gaza."

Macron spoke out in favour of these goals, but criticized that the situation in the southern city of Rafah. He said the number of people killed and injured after nine months of war were unacceptable.

It was also unacceptable that Israel was not opening all border crossings for humanitarian aid, as the international community had been demanding for months.

Joint efforts would be stepped up to prevent a regional conflagration, especially in Lebanon, said Macron. There was an urgent need to make progress on de-escalation in the Lebanese-Israeli border region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpa
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had rescued four Israeli hostages on Saturday in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Jack Guez/AFP pool/dpa
A woman drapped in the Isareli flag celebrates the rescue and arrival of four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa
The helicopter that was carrying the rescued Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, stands outside the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa
People wave Isareli flags as they celebrate the rescue and arrival of four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa
People wave Isareli flags as they celebrate the rescue and arrival of four Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October, at the Sheba Medical center in Ramat Gan. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it had rescued four Israeli hostages in a "complex special daytime operation" in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Ilia Yefimovich/dpa