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Report: Hamas says it doesn’t have hostages required for cease-fire

Hamas told international mediators that it does not have 40 living Israeli hostages who meet the criteria for the first phase of a cease-fire, an Israeli official and a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Wednesday.

The CNN report came one day after several family members of hostages held by Hamas terrorists met with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House and urged for a deal that would release their loved ones and implement a temporary cease-fire in Gaza.

“The only hope for peace is through the release of all the hostages now,” said Jonathan Dekel-Chen, the father of American hostage Sagui Dekel-Chen. On a potential hostage agreement, Dekel-Chen stressed that the world is waiting for “Hamas to get to yes.”

Rachel Goldberg, the mother of American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, called the meeting with Harris “very productive.”

During the meeting, Harris emphasized that she and President Joe Biden “have no higher priority than reuniting the hostages with their loved ones,” according to a White House readout.

Under the framework developed by negotiators, including Qatar and Egypt, Hamas would be required to release 40 of the remaining hostages during an initial six-week pause in the fighting, including all women as well as sick and elderly men.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners would be released from Israeli jails in exchange for the hostages.

CNN’s source said the inability or unwillingness of Hamas to give Israel an indication of which hostages would be released alive is an impediment to making the deal happen.

Given that Hamas is apparently unable to assemble 40 hostages who meet the proposed criteria, Israel has called for the Palestinian terrorist group to release younger male hostages, including soldiers, the Israeli official told CNN.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that 33 of the 129 hostages currently being held are dead.

According to CNN, the majority of the remaining living hostages are thought to be male IDF soldiers or men of military age that Hamas is likely to try to use in later stages of the war in an attempt to negotiate more significant concessions from Israel, including an end to the conflict.

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