U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on Sunday with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani about developments in Gaza and “urgent ongoing efforts” to secure the release of hostages being held by the Hamas militant group, the White House said.
Biden “unequivocally” condemned the holding of hostages by Hamas, including many young children, one of whom is a 3-year old American citizen whose parents were killed by the group on October 7th, the White House said in a statement.
“The two leaders agreed that all hostages must be released without further delay,” the statement said.
Hamas fighters surged across the border from Gaza into Israel on Oct.7, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages, according to Israeli officials. Only four hostages have been released to date.
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza has since killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, around 40% of them children, according to counts by health officials in the Hamas-ruled territory.