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Hamas says it is unable to find 40 Israeli hostages needed for ceasefire deal

Hamas has indicated it is unable to identify and find the 40 Israeli hostages required for the first phase of a ceasefire deal, according to a report by CNN.

The terrorist group reportedly told international mediators it did not have enough captives fitting criteria for an agreement that would initiate a six-week pause in its war with Israel.

The report comes after CIA Director Bill Burns purportedly proposed on Monday that Hamas releases 40 female, sick and elderly male hostages in exchange for 900 Palestinians held by Israel.

Israel urged the terrorist group to instead provide younger men, including soldiers, to fulfill its end of the deal.

Hamas took more than 240 hostages on Oct. 7 when it attacked Israel. The terrorists released roughly 100 of them in November during a temporary truce while Israel delivered nearly 250 Palestinian prisoners.

The US government has pressured the two sides to accept a ceasefire agreement, with President Joe Biden shifting his attitude toward the war in light of Israel’s recent strikes on civilians.

Israel plans to enter Rafah, a southern city in the Gaza Strip, where 1.4 million people lived in February, according toa United Nations estimate.

“We are working all the time to achieve our goals, primarily the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Monday. “This victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen – there is a date.”

Biden warned Netanyahu on Thursday the U.S.’ support would hinge on Israel’s ability to carry out “specific,” “concrete” and “measurable” steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering and aid workers’ safety.

“Israel must also do its part. Israel must allow more aid into Gaza and ensure that humanitarian workers aren’t caught in the cross fire,” Biden said during the State of the Union in March. “To the leadership of Israel I say this: Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip. Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority.”

The United Nations passed a resolution last month demanding a ceasefire, with the U.S. serving as the only abstaining vote. U.S. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council the nation’s support was “not simply rhetorical.”

“Today my ask to the members of this council is, ‘Speak out and demand unequivocally that Hamas accepts the deal on the table,’” she stated.

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