Four-Year-Old American Hostage Is Released From Gaza

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AAnother 17 people were freed on Sunday, the third day of release from Hamas custody, including the first US citizen whose parents were killed in the October 7 attack.

Abigail Edan, one of the three American hostages, was initially held by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Hamas gunmen killed her parents at their home in Kfar Azza Kibbutz near the Gaza border.

“One of our Americans, a little girl named Abigail, spent her 4th birthday, that birthday and at least 50 days ago, being held hostage by Hamas,” US President Joe Biden said in Nantucket, Massachusetts. They spent the holidays. She is free and now in Israel.

“What she endured is unimaginable,” he added.

According to Majid Al Ansari, spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, among those released to the protection of the Red Cross are a total of 13 Israelis, three foreigners and one individual with a Russian passport. Unlike the previous two nights, the hostages were released in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

“According to information received from the Red Cross, 14 Israeli hostages and three foreign hostages have been transferred to the Red Cross,” the Israel Defense Forces said.

Qatar said the foreigners were from Thailand. Earlier, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said he had “reason to believe” that at least one American citizen was among those released.

Talks continued on Sunday to extend a four-day ceasefire as more humanitarian aid trucks headed to Gaza, including northern areas.

“We are doing our best to return our hostages and we will return them all,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

The Prime Minister’s Office announced earlier that it had received a list of the names of the abductees to whom Hamas was supposed to hand over on Sunday. The Palestinian militant group that governs Gaza released a total of 26 Israelis, some of them dual nationals, as well as 14 Thai nationals and one Filipino national on Friday and Saturday.

The releases at various stages are key to a deal between Qatar and Egypt that ended fighting in the more than six-week war and allowed more humanitarian aid into besieged Gaza.

Separately on Sunday, Hamas said it would release two Israeli-Russian hostages “in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts and in appreciation of Russia’s stance in support of the Palestinian cause.” This individual appears to be among the 14 Israeli prisoners.

Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation, Lolwah Al Khater, told Al Jazeera TV that work is continuing at the political level to extend the current peace agreement, which is scheduled to last for four days.

The hours-long delay in Saturday’s releases, blamed on Israel by Hamas, underscored the shakiness of the short-lived truce. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and EU. The militants entered Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and abducting nearly 240 others.

Israel has withdrawn its military forces from the tiny and crowded Gaza Strip since the attack. At least 15,000 people have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The four-day truce comes after Hamas released a total of 50 hostages and Israel released 150 women and minors from the country’s prisons.



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