US 'closer than' ever to Gaza hostage deal, says White House
The US is actively engaged in negotiations to secure the release of hostages in Gaza, said the White House on Monday, stressing that they have guarded hope, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
"We believe we're closer than we've ever been. So we're hopeful," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told a press briefing at the White House.
He said there is still work to be done, adding that "nothing is done until it's all done. So we're working on it.”
The statement came amid reports from Israeli public broadcaster KAN that Tel Aviv had proposed a prisoner swap deal with Hamas; it is not known if the US was involved in that reported deal.
Hours earlier, President Joe Biden said he believes a deal to free hostages in Gaza is near.
"I believe so," Biden responded when asked if a deal to release hostages in Gaza is near during the annual Thanksgiving turkey “pardon” ceremony at the White House.
But he was tight-lipped on further details, stating that he was "not prepared to talk."
Meanwhile, Kirby said the total number of US citizens that Washington has evacuated from Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing is now up to 800.
"We're continuing to work on that every day," said Kirby.