Biden spoke with families of 14 Americans missing after Hamas attacks -White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden has spoken with family members of 14 Americans unaccounted for after attacks by Hamas militants on Israel, the White House said on Friday.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the president and his team told the families U.S. authorities would do everything they could to return these people back to their families.

“They are American citizens. They belong home with their families,” Kirby told reporters.

The White House has confirmed the deaths of 22 Americans in the Hamas attacks on Israel that began on Saturday. Kirby said U.S. authorities were still working to get more information on how many Americans were among the hostages taken by Hamas.

“We still believe it’s a very small number,” he said on Friday. “I think I described it as less than a handful. That is still our estimate right now.”

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Jeff Mason, Doina Chiacu; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)