US President Joe Biden on Friday thanked Qatar and Egypt for the deal to release Israeli hostages.
Biden said the chances were "real" of a truce between Israel and Hamas being extended and he expressed hope that US citizens taken hostage by the Palestinian militant group would be freed soon.
Biden also praised US diplomacy behind the truce and Friday's release of 24 hostages who were taken by Hamas to Gaza in its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, saying it was the start of what he expected would be further releases in coming days.
Asked whether the truce could be extended, Biden said: "I think the chances are real."
Biden declined to speculate about how long the Israel-Hamas war would last. "I don't know how long it will take," Biden told reporters.
"My expectation and hope is that as we move forward, the rest of the Arab world and the region is also putting pressure on all sides to slow this down, to bring this to an end as quickly as we can."
Biden said earlier that he had raised civilian casualties with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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