WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to speak with the families of the Americans believed to be held hostage in Gaza, a White House official said Friday.
Biden’s official White House schedule did not have when the phone call would be taking place but the President told CBS he is doing everything in his power to bring those Americans home.
A source familiar with the situation confirmed that the call is expected to take place Friday.
“I think they have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about them, deeply. We have to communicate to the world this is critical. This is not even human behavior. It’s pure barbarism, and we’re going to do everything in our power to get them home — if we can find them,” Biden said in a clip of his interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” airing Sunday night.
The news comes just one day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the region.
“We’re doing everything we can to secure the release of the hostages working closely with our Israeli partners,” Blinken said.
At Thursday’s press briefing, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed the number of Americans who died following Hamas’ attack on Israel had risen to 27. Fourteen Americans remain unaccounted for.
While Kirby declined to reveal any intelligence of the hostage’s whereabouts, he said the Biden administration is doing whatever it takes to bring those Americans home safely.
“We obviously take seriously our responsibilities to get Americans held overseas back with their families,” he said. “We have, in the past, entered into negotiations to do exactly that.”
Earlier this week, Biden said he is doing a lot to bring those Americans home but would not be speaking about his efforts publicly.
“Folks, there’s a lot we’re doing – a lot we’re doing. I have not given up hope of bringing these folks home,” Biden said at the time. “But the idea that I’m going to stand here before you and tell you what I’m doing is bizarre, so I hope you understand how bizarre I think it would be to try to answer that question.”