U.S. President Joe Biden has confirmed that Abigail Edan, a 4-year-old Israeli-American girl who had been held hostage by Hamas, has been released.
President Biden stated that the young girl, whose parents were tragically killed by Hamas militants, is now in Israel and emphasized that she had been through “terrible trauma.”
“Today she's free, and Jill and I, together with so many Americans, are praying for the fact that she is going to be alright," said the president on Sunday in reference to the hostages released as part of the cease-fire agreement in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
She became the first American hostage to be released as part of the deal, and while Biden did not have immediate information on Abigail’s condition, he said she was “safely ensconced in Israel.” Edan celebrated her fourth birthday in captivity on Friday.
Hamas militants attacked the village of Kfar Azza on Oct. 7, killing Edan's parents, she then ran and found shelter with her neighbors, the Brodutch family, but all of them were later captured and taken to Gaza.
The Brodutch family was also released on Sunday, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's office, which confirmed the release of 17 hostages on Sunday. Among them, 14 were Israeli citizens, and the remaining three were foreign nationals.
President Biden also acknowledged his recent collaboration with Middle Eastern leaders, expressed gratitude to Qatar's Emir, and hoped that the pause could be extended.
"I get a sense that all the players in the region are looking for a way to end this so the hostages are all released and... Hamas is completely no longer in control of Gaza,” he said. “This is a day-by-day approach... Hour by hour, nothing is guaranteed.”
The White House later reported that the president had phone conversations with the girl's family as well as with Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
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