Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Kirby revealed that the estimated number of American hostages is around eight, but admitted that the U.S. lacks precise information regarding their whereabouts and health status.
"We're trying to do that as best we can, but it's about eight and now we also believe that the total population left is somewhere in the neighborhood of about 140," Kirby stated.
A weeklong truce between Israel and Hamas, agreed upon to facilitate the release of some hostages captured in the October 7 attack on Israel, saw over 100 hostages freed by Hamas in exchange for approximately 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
However, the truce ended last Friday when Hamas failed to provide another list of hostages, specifically women and children, for release. Consequently, hostilities between Israel and Hamas have recommenced.
President Biden confirmed last week that two Americans were released during the truce, including 4-year-old American-Israeli citizen Abigail Idan and Liat Atzili, a mother of three whose husband remains in Hamas' custody. The truce agreement stipulated the release of only women and children from Hamas's control. With Hamas reportedly holding two American women and one child hostage, it is inferred that at least one American woman is still captive.
Hamas has indicated that it will demand more for the release of male hostages. The U.S. has confirmed that seven of the men captured by Hamas are American citizens.
The possibility of resuming talks to negotiate another ceasefire for the release of hostages remains uncertain. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew his country's negotiators from Qatar on Saturday, citing a deadlock with Hamas. Kirby further noted that "neither side is willing to come back to the table" in Israel-Hamas negotiations.
The October 7 attack resulted in over 1,200 Israeli fatalities and an additional 240 taken hostage by Hamas. Subsequent Israeli strikes on Gaza have reportedly claimed the lives of over 13,000 Palestinians, as per the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.