Biden urges Egypt, Qatar leaders to press Hamas to come to agreement for Israeli hostages in Gaza

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden wrote a letter to the leaders of Egypt and Qatar on Friday, calling on them to pressure Hamas for a hostage deal with Israel, a senior administration official said, a day after Biden called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to boost the effort to double down to reach an agreement. ceasefire in the six-month war in Gaza.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private letters, said Biden’s national security adviser will meet Monday with relatives of some of the estimated 100 hostages believed to still be in Gaza.

The letters to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, come as Biden has sent CIA Director Bill Burns to Cairo for talks this weekend on the hostage crisis.

White House officials say negotiating a pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas to facilitate the exchange of hostages in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners in Israel is the only way to implement a temporary ceasefire and stimulate the flow of poor humanitarian aid into the country. the territory.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said earlier Friday that Biden underscored the need to reach a hostage agreement during a Thursday call with Netanyahu that largely focused on Israeli airstrikes that killed seven World Central aid workers Kitchen perished.

“We’re getting to six months – six months that these people have been held hostage. And what we must take into account are the horrific conditions in which the hostages are being held, Kirby said. They need to be home with their families.