US President Joe Biden Insists on Hostage Release Before Ceasefire Talks in Israel-Hamas Conflict
President Biden prioritizes hostage release before ceasefire discussions in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Concerns rise over potential escalation. Pentagon deploys additional troops.
President Joe Biden emphasized that he won't consider supporting a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict until all hostages, including approximately 200 individuals, believed to be held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, are released.
"We need to ensure the safety and release of those hostages before entering into discussions," stated President Biden, underscoring the gravity of the situation.
Amid the escalating conflict, some members of Congress, particularly liberal Democrats, have urged the President to mediate a ceasefire. They cite the increasing casualties among Palestinians in Gaza and logistical challenges in delivering humanitarian aid.
However, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller cautioned against a premature ceasefire, asserting that it could compromise Israel's ability to defend itself in the face of ongoing threats from terrorist organizations.
"A ceasefire at this juncture might provide Hamas with an opportunity to regroup and plan further attacks on Israel," warned Miller. He emphasized the imperative of ensuring Israel's security against such brutal terrorist assaults.
Recent developments saw Hamas release two Israeli women hostages on Monday, following the release of two American hostages, a mother and her daughter, last Friday.
President Biden indicated his intention to convene in the White House Situation Room to address the Middle East Conflict, though he did not provide further details on the matter.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has taken decisive steps to bolster forces in the Middle East, as the Biden administration endeavors to prevent Iran and Hezbollah from escalating the Israel-Hamas conflict.
John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House on national security, disclosed that additional military personnel have been deployed to the region, with more reinforcements slated to arrive in the coming days and weeks. This strategic move aims to deter any potential escalation of the conflict.
These actions follow a noted increase in rocket and drone attacks by proxy groups backed by Iran against military bases housing U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, as identified by Kirby. He refrained from specifying the exact nature of the augmented military presence. The Pentagon has already dispatched two carrier strike groups to the region.
Expressing deep concern over the potential escalation of these attacks, Kirby reiterated that President Biden has instructed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to ensure that the U.S. maintains an appropriate defensive posture.
Kirby also highlighted that Iran is closely monitoring these events and, in certain cases, actively supporting these attacks, as well as encouraging other entities seeking to exploit the conflict for their own interests.
"It's evident that Iran seeks to maintain a level of deniability in these actions. We won't allow them to do so," affirmed Kirby, underlining the commitment to addressing the situation in the region.