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US President Joe Biden Image Credit: Reuters

Woodside, United States: US President Joe Biden said Wednesday he was "mildly hopeful" that there would be a deal to free Hamas-held hostages in Gaza, as he affirmed he had asked Israel to be "incredibly careful" in its military moves around hospitals in the strip.

"I don't want to get ahead of myself here because I don't know what's happened in the last four hours, but we have gotten great cooperation from the Qataris," he said when asked about progress on freeing hostages taken on October 7.

Biden noted the "pause the Israelis have agreed to" before cutting off his thought and saying "I'm going to stop. But I am mildly hopeful."

Qatar has been leading mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas for the release of more than 200 hostages.

Asked about the Israeli Defence Force's moves on embattled Al-Shifa hospital, where the US and Israel says Hamas has a command node, he said he had warned that it needed to be a precision operation.

"Let me be precise. We've discussed the need for them to be incredibly careful," he said.

"So this is a different story than I believe was occurring before of indiscriminate bombing."