White House reveals 3-year-old American among Hamas hostages

A 3-year-old American citizen toddler is one of the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, the White House said Sunday.

In a readout of a Sunday call between President Joe Biden and Qatar’s Emir, the White House said the child’s parents were killed by the group during the October 7 attacks in Israel and that the leaders discussed Qatari-brokered efforts to free hostages.

“The two leaders agreed that all hostages must be released without further delay,” the White House said.

The White House did not disclose additional information about the toddler. However, a White House official said the toddler is the youngest American hostage and the only known US minor currently being held.

The call comes days after CNN reported that the parties involved are working toward a deal that would call for a sustained, days-long pause in fighting in exchange for a large group of hostages being freed.

If a deal were to be struck, the hostages would exit Gaza in stages on a rolling basis – with priority placed on extra vulnerable groups like children and women – in a process that is expected to take multiple days, a senior US official familiar with the talks told CNN on Friday.

CNN reported in October that release efforts have been further complicated by Israel’s expansion of its ground operations into Gaza. Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu has said there would be “no ceasefire” without the release of hostages.

A small number of hostages have been released so far since the start of the war. Two American hostages were released in late October as a result of negotiations between Qatar and Hamas. After their exit, President Joe Biden revealed that Israel had agreed to a brief pause to secure their release.

CNN’s MJ Lee contributed to this report.

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