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Netanyahu believes there are enough hostages alive to justify the kind of efforts Israel is making

A photo taken from southern Israel on the border with Gaza shows an Israeli tank positioned behind a sand wall and damaged buildings in Gaza on January 18. Credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he believed there were enough hostages alive in Gaza to “justify efforts” by Israel to secure their release.

“I am committed to doing everything possible, to remove him. And that requires pressure, pressure has worked and pressure will work again,” Netanyahu told ABC News in an interview this Sunday.

Netanyahu was asked about an open letter from the Forum of Families of Hostages and Missing Persons, which questioned Israel’s approach to ongoing negotiations with Hamas and its commitment to securing the release of the hostages.

“I’m not sure one can put oneself in the place of families, but neither can families put themselves in the place of decision makers,” Netanyahu said. “They’re two different things. They touch our hearts, they touch my heart, but I’m also responsible for the safety of the people of Israel,” he said.

What we know about hostages: According to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, there are currently 136 hostages in Gaza. Of these, 132 are from the October 7 attack. Of those hostages, 103 are believed to survive, while 29 died.

Most of the hostages are held by Hamas, but some are believed to be held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and possibly smaller groups or individuals in Gaza.

Call with Biden: During a call with US President Joe Biden this Sunday, Netanyahu spoke in detail about the hostage negotiations, according to a senior US administration official. The official warned that although a framework for the agreement has been established, there are still shortcomings.

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez and MJ Lee contributed to this report

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