The White House said it hoped some of the Americans could be freed on Wednesday, as part of a two-day extension of an initial suspension of hostilities between Hamas and Israel.
“There are no Americans, unfortunately, today. But we’re optimistic, tomorrow’s another day, and we’re sure we’ll see some Americans come out,” National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.
Kirby said there was no indication that Hamas’s non-release of American hostages was a tactic or a ploy, pointing to the small number of Americans held captive and difficult logistics.
“We want to see all the hostages released, so there are extended pauses beyond this two-day extension, and then, you know, we’re supportive of that. As I said, we’re going to do this hour by hour with our partners in the region,” Kirby said.
He declined to elaborate when asked for an opportunity on whether another extension would be agreed upon by all parties.
Kirby said Israel has an “extra burden” as it plans possible attacks to count civilian casualties once the cease-fire ends in southern Gaza. Israel has previously urged thousands of Gazans to move to the area because of its offensive in the north.
“So when Israel starts planning to operate in the south, it’s an added burden for Israel to make sure that, whatever it looks like, they properly account for the innocent lives — the additional innocent lives that are now in southern Gaza,” he said.