White House says Biden did not hear question about Israel delaying ground invasion of Gaza

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President did not hear a question from a reporter who asked whether Israel should delay a potential ground invasion of Gaza until more hostages can get out, when he answered, “yes”, the White House said.

“The president was far away. He didn’t hear the full question. The question sounded like ‘Would you like to see more hostages released?’ He wasn’t commenting on anything else,” White House spokesperson Ben LaBolt said.

Biden was walking up the steps to board Air Force One when a reporter shouted the question over the sound of the plane’s engines. Biden stopped for a moment and said, “yes,” and then proceeded onto the plane.

The Islamist group Hamas released two U.S. hostages, mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan, who were kidnapped in its attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

(Reporting by Jasper Ward and Nandita Bose; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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