At the White House press briefing on Wednesday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that 22 Americans were killed and another 17 are still missing after Saturday’s attack by Hamas in Israel. Kirby also said that the U.S. is working with allies and partners to secure the release of the hostages, but didn’t know where they are or their condition.
- Do you want to clarify the numbers here? I think, Karine, you just said that 17 Americans remain missing. Is that the latest number? I think yesterday you had said 20. I just want to make sure we're operating off of the same thing.
JOHN KIRBY: There is 17 that are missing and 22 that are dead.
- And is there anything you can share with us about anything you know about the condition of the hostages? And also, has there been any kind of communication with Hamas, either directly or with our allies or partners, about securing their release? Is there any kind of receptiveness that they've shown even to talking about this issue?
JOHN KIRBY: So let me take the second one first. Obviously, we're in discussions not only with the Israelis about what hostage recovery could look like, but with other allies and partners in the region. And there are some countries, like Qatar, that have open lines of communication with Hamas.
So of course, we're casting the net wide, as you would expect we would. We want to get these-- all the hostages back with their families, particularly the American hostages, no question about that.
Now, where they are and in what condition, no, sadly, we don't know. And that makes efforts very, very difficult. And again, in these early hours-- but we don't know. We don't know where they are. We don't know if they're all in one group or broken up into several groups.
We don't know if they're being moved and with what frequency and to what locations. All of those questions, we're working hard to answer.
- And you say you're casting a wide net. But has any communication actually been made with Hamas?
JOHN KIRBY: I'm just going to leave the answer the way I gave it to you. I think, just like in any other case when we're talking about getting Americans home overseas that have been held hostage or wrongfully detained, the less you say out there publicly, the better.