National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that nine Americans and one green card holder were still unaccounted for following the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sullivan said U.S. officials did not know whether those 10 people were still alive, but that “active, intensive negotiations” were underway to secure the release of all hostages.
“We currently have nine Americans who are missing, one green-card holder who is missing. We don’t know the status — whether they are alive or whether they have passed away — but we are looking to get the safe recovery of all of those individuals,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash.
“And we’re staying in close touch with their families. In fact, I will be meeting with the families of the American hostages this week,” Sullivan added.
Sullivan would not say whether officials were close to reaching a deal for the hostages, which total about 240 people taken from Israel, but he said the United States was involved in negotiations, which also included Qatar and Egypt.
“I don’t want to predict how close we are because I have thought we have been close before, and we haven’t quite gotten there,” Sullivan said.
“What I can say is, there are active, intensive negotiations underway involving Israel, Qatar. The United States is engaged in those negotiations. Egypt and other countries are also engaged,” he said. “And the goal here is to do what is necessary at the negotiating table to ensure that we get the safe return of all of the hostages, including the Americans.”
Sullivan’s comments come more than a month after Hamas launched a brutal surprise attack on Israel’s southern border, killing about 1,200 Israelis. Israel recently revised its estimated death toll from the attack on Oct. 7, saying the previous estimate of 1,400 Israelis included 200 people who were affiliated with Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.