Skip to main content

US chases breakthrough in Gaza hostage impasse

A senior Hamas official claimed the group has been holding four female soldiers since the truce collapsed, when Biden administration says the militants recategorized civilian women set for release as soldiers.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The United States is pursuing a “number of initiatives” to get the hostage talks between Israel and Hamas back on track two weeks after the collapse of the shaky truce between the two sides, a senior Biden administration official said. 

As the Israeli military intensifies its offensive in the Gaza Strip, mediators from Qatar are talking to both Israel and Hamas in an effort to break the deadlock, according to an official from the Gulf country.  

The United States and Israel blamed the truce’s Dec. 1 collapse on Hamas’ refusal to hand over the remaining civilian women and children in its possession. A senior Biden administration official briefing reporters on Thursday provided more detail, saying that at the last minute, Hamas chose to recategorize young civilian women — many of whom were abducted from an outdoor music festival — as soldiers. 

“The issue now is whether and how to try to get this process back on track again, starting with those women that Hamas has acknowledged they are holding but they have refused to release,” the official said. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.