Joe Biden
Joe BidenREUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

US President Joe Biden on Friday spoke for over an hour with families of 14 Americans who are missing following Hamas' attack on Israel.

"They're going through agony not knowing what the status of their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, children, are," Biden later said at an event in Philadelphia, adding, "You know, it's gut-wrenching."

"I assured them of my personal commitment to do everything possible to return every missing American to their families," he continued. "We're working around the clock to secure the release of Americans held by Hamas, in close cooperation with Israel and our partners around the region. We're not going to stop until we bring them home."

Biden blasted Hamas in his remarks, saying the terrorist group is worse than Al-Qaeda.

“The more we learned about the attack, the more horrifying it becomes. More than 1,000 — 1,000 innocent lives lost, including at least 27 Americans. These guys make, they make Al-Qaeda look pure. They’re pure evil,” Biden said.

The White House said the president was joined on the phone call with the families by special envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Undersecretary of State John Bass, and National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk, the White House said.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the president told the families they've been in his prayers, and expressed the United States' commitment to doing everything possible to bring their loved ones home.

Biden spoke with CBS News' Scott Pelley, in an interview for 60 Minutes which will air on Sunday, before his conversation with the families.

"I think they have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what's happened to them — deeply," Biden said. "We have to communicate to the world this is critical. This is not even human behavior. It's pure barbarism. And we're going to do everything in our power to get them home if we can find them."

Biden has been consistent with his condemnation of the Hamas attack and of his support for Israel.

On Wednesday, Biden spoke to heads of Jewish organizations and said, “My commitment to Israel’s security and the safety of the Jewish people is unshakable. The United States has Israel’s back and I have yours as well, both at home and abroad.”

“The miracle of Israel is Israel itself. The hope it inspires. The light it represents to the world. I was asked in one of my very frank conversations with Bibi and [President] Herzog why do I feel so deeply about this? It’s not about the region. I truly believe that were there no Israel, no Jew in the world will be ultimately safe. It’s the only ultimate guarantee,” he added.

A day earlier, Biden delivered an address to the American people and the world focusing on the Hamas terrorist attack.

He noted that the US has a special interest in the war against Hamas for the sake of its own citizens. "We now know that American citizens are among those being held by Hamas. I'm directing my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise their Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts. Because as President, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world."

"Let me say again, any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said.

After Biden’s speech, the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)