National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States expects at least one American hostage being held by militant group Hamas to be released Sunday.
“At least one American will be released today. I cannot confirm who it will be, or that it will absolutely happen because until we see that American out of Gaza, in safety and ultimately in the hands of their loved ones, we won’t have full confirmation,” Sullivan told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.”
Fifty hostages are expected to be released during the four-day truce between Israel and Hamas, but so far, no Americans have been freed. Twenty-four hostages were released on Friday in the first wave of hostages planned to be released by Hamas and an additional 17 were released on Saturday, including a 9-year-old Israeli-Irish girl who was believed to be dead.
About 240 people were taken hostage by Hamas militants when the group launched its initial attack on Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,200 Israelis. Since then, Gaza has been under heavy bombardment by Israel, with the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reporting that more than 12,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting.
Sullivan cautioned that while the U.S. expects an American to be released Sunday, they must verify the release first.
“And we do have reason to believe that there will be an American release today but let’s wait and see what actually happens. Because of course, we are dealing with a terrorist group here and we can’t immediately trust we have to verify,” he said.
He also said that it is up to Hamas whether this hostage deal gets extended.
“I have every confidence that ultimately, all of the Americans and all of the individuals being held hostage will come home we are determined not to rest until that happens,” he said. “But whether or not this particular deal gets extended, that’s really up to Hamas, because Israel has been very clear as part of the deal, it is prepared to continue the pause in fighting for every day that Hamas produces an additional 10 hostages.”