President Biden will meet at the White House on Wednesday with the families of Americans taken hostage by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, his first face-to-face meeting with the relatives since the crisis began.
A White House official confirmed the meeting, but did not offer details about how many of the family members would be attending the meeting in person. The president previously spoke with the families on a video call about a week after the attacks.
At the time, he called the conversation “gut-wrenching” and later described the family members as “going through agony, not knowing what the status of their sons and daughters, husbands wives, children.”
The White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss planning for the meeting, said the invitation was extended to several family members for each of the American hostages that are still being held in Gaza.
Biden administration officials have indicated there are about eight remaining hostages with American citizenship, after several were released, including during a weeklong pause in fighting last month.
Those still believed to be held include Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, an American-Israeli dual citizen who was gravely injured by a grenade during the attacks in southern Israel before being taken hostage. Several other Americans still being held include Omer Neutra, 22, who grew up on Long Island, and Sagui Dekel-Chen, 35, who grew up on a kibbutz in Israel but frequently visited family in Connecticut.
The families of the remaining hostages have repeatedly pressed the United States to push for pauses in the fighting to allow Israel to negotiate the release of their loved ones still being held.
During the fighting pause last month, Hamas released more than 100 of the roughly 240 hostages that they seized on Oct. 7.