Biden says Gaza ceasefire could come by 'end of the weekend,' would allow release of hostages

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A pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza could come as soon as the “end of the weekend” to allow the release of additional hostages still held captive by Hamas, President Joe Biden said Monday.

‘I hope by the end of the weekend. My national security advisor tells me that we’re close, we’re close, we’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire,” Biden told reporters during a stop at an ice cream parlor in New York City.

Biden said earlier this month that the U.S. was working to negotiate a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas that would pause fighting in Gaza for at least six weeks.

After a "sustained period of calm" in Gaza, "we could then take the time to build something more enduring," Biden said after a meeting at the White House with Jordanian King Abdullah II.

Biden said he has spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as leaders of Qatar and Egypt, "to push this forward."

"The key elements of the deal are on the table," Biden said. "There are gaps that remain but I've encouraged Israeli leaders to keep working to achieve the deal. The United States will do everything possible to make it happen."

Israel has said about 100 hostages remain alive in Hamas captivity in Gaza out of about 240 who were taken by Hamas during the militant group's violent Oct. 7 attack on Israel. About 100 were released during a previous cease-fire in November, and militants are believed to be holding the remains of more than 30 others, most of whom died in the Oct. 7 attacks.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden: Gaza ceasefire could come by 'end of the weekend'