American hostages are not likely to be among the second group of women and children freed by Hamas, an American official said on Saturday.
The senior Biden administration official, who asked not to be named to discuss national security issues, said in a statement that the cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas that called for the release of Palestinian prisoners and people abducted by Hamas last month was “early in the process.”
“We are hopeful that will include three dual national women and children, who are American citizens,” the official wrote. “This will unfold over the coming days.”
The cease-fire deal calls for Israel to release 150 Palestinian women and minors, many of whom have been convicted of violent crimes. In exchange, Hamas is expected to release at least 50 women and children who were kidnapped in the Oct. 7 assault in which Hamas killed about 1,200 people in their homes and at a music festival, according to Israeli officials.
President Biden said at a news conference on Friday that he believed the four-day cease-fire deal between Hamas and Israel would result in the return of American hostages.
But no Americans were among the 24 people released by Hamas in the first exchange on Friday. That group included 13 Israelis, 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino.
The senior Biden administration official said the White House remained “hopeful” that American citizens would be among the hostages freed in the coming days.