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Israel-Hamas truce extends as aid reaches Gaza: Live updates

9:22 p.m. ET, November 27, 2023

White House does not believe Hamas intentionally held back 2 Americans in hostage release, official says

The White House does not believe Hamas purposefully held back two American women who were expected to be freed as part of the release of hostages, a senior Biden administration official said Monday. 

The official said on a call with reporters that “so far” Hamas intentionally holding back the two American women hostages based on their American citizenship was not a “conclusion we would draw.” 

The official would not elaborate on how the administration came to that belief.

The White House has said three Americans – 4-year-old Abigail Edan, who was released on Sunday, and two women – were expected to be among the 50 hostages Hamas would release over the course of a four-day truce.

The Biden administration still hopes the two women will be released, the official said, pointing to an agreement in which Hamas has “committed to 20” additional hostages being released over the next two days.

CNN previously reported that Qatar said an agreement had been reached to extend the truce in Gaza by two additional days. Under the agreement, Hamas will release 10 hostages each day, according to an Israeli senior adviser.

That leaves open the possibility that the two American women could be released on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

During the days ahead, there will be further discussions between all parties about potentially extending the humanitarian pause to secure the release of more hostages being held by Hamas, according to the official. 

“We’ll see where we are two days from now,” the official said.

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